Photo by Jose Wong

Hairline fracture

A very small sliver or crack in the bone. Caused by unusual stress or from activities such as jogging or running. The fragments do not separate because the line of break is so fine.

Runners on, I hit the pavement. I haven’t been on this route in a while but I’m doing well. Up the hill. Up. Up the next hill. Okay, sweat is normal. Sweat is healthy. Humans are practically unique because of their sweating.

I’m slowing to a jog when I see someone who looks like him. But it’s not him, is it? He looks good, that’s for sure. He did say he was heading out. It is him! “Ashton!” I call, across the busy road. But he keeps walking. “Ashton!” I yell again. He doesn’t react. He’s listening to music. But I need him to look up. It’s not about seeing him; it’s about him seeing me.

He’s nearing the tram, and soon he’ll board and take off. “Ashton!!” I keep calling, but I’m drowned out by the traffic and his iPod. I want to run across to him, but I’ll get hit by a Volvo. When he’s about to get on the tram, he shifts, like he’s heard something. But then he shrugs, enters, and takes a seat on the right.

I’m left shivering there in my shorts and singlet, rapidly falling from my endorphin high. At the time, it was just a moment. But now I can see it for what it was: the overture to a crumbling relationship.

Open compound fracture

The broken bone is exposed, through a wound in the skin. Infection and external bleeding are likely.

 It’s something she thinks when she’s sober but would never say out loud. After all, what does it matter? But standing there, on the shower drain, her feet black from the trampoline, all of her filtering systems are being water-damaged. She’s a soft doll. You can prop her up against the tiled wall but she’ll simply collapse on herself, incapable of standing on her own.

“You don’t feel the same,” she says, her cries dampened by the running water. She doesn’t feel the heat of her own tears. She can’t feel anything, which is fortunate. Sherbet orange chunks stand out against the plastic floor and she knows they’re hers but doesn’t remember how they got there. Her underwear is soaked through, and it’s only with retrospect that she realises she should have removed her bra. “I’m more into you,” she blubbers, a stream of insecurities and vomit that she can’t keep down.

Her boyfriend stands before her. She hears the truth of her accusations in his silence. “I’m really sorry,” she whispers over and over because she’s done this to herself, “Can you come here?” He climbs in to the cubicle, and wraps himself around her, warm and temporary. She cries into his chest and he keeps holding on. It’s not okay, but it beats the alternative.

NB: A bone fracture occurs when a force exerted against a bone is stronger than it can structurally withstand. Symptoms include severe pain and tenderness.
Written by Nicola Nemaric.

Categories: Short & Sharp
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