Useless Things

useless thingsForgetting the uses for things was, in a way, a relief. It was less painful, for instance, when her grandmother’s teacups shattered on the tile floor. They seemed to have fulfilled their purpose. She wiped up the mess, then tied the wet washrag in her hair. She was no longer afraid to drive backwards, or paint her clothes, or weed indiscriminately. It was now impossible to make a mistake. As she lifted the hot kettle and embraced it, tea splashed onto her bare legs. These burns are what I was made for, she thought. These marks are who I am.

Ariel Berry spends most of her time reading, writing, and teaching. Her work has most recently appeared in Stolen Island, Gone Lawn, and Southword.

Photo credit: Susan

6 Responses to “Useless Things”

  1. Terri Huntington says:

    Beautiful imagery Ariel. It made me think of relatives who suffered through the process of dementia and/or alzheimers and how they might have viewed these things.

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  3. Trish Saunders says:

    This is a stunning piece of fiction. Each sentence tumbles hurriedly into the next, exactly as hot tea would splatter on a leg. I enjoyed very much.

  4. Shelley says:

    This is so depressing. I wish I never read it.

  5. Eric Skinner says:

    This is a powerful, beautiful, harrowing story that I needed to read and read again. Thank you, Ariel, for this gift.

  6. Tony Press says:

    Remarkable story, full of wonder and love and cold reality, too. “It was now impossible to make a mistake.” Hooray for this line and for this story.

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