Cutting up vegetables for dinner yesterday, I was reminded how fragile things they are. How they put up little defense, but even so, more defense than fruit. Fruit is often merely flesh, separated by a thin skin, not so unlike our own human shells. We are like so much fruit, begging to be broken down and split apart.

Onion skins. The silver slick and pearly layers peel away and away, like tree rings. The recipe calls for one large red onion, but they're delightfully not red but purple and also do not make me cry like yellow and white ones do. With them I find out how vulnerable I am, how close we are to tears. But here with red onions I am not so uncovered.

Five cloves of garlic, minced. I press with finger and thumb the rough nub where the clove grows from. Snap. The layers flail off like dried petals, white and translucent in my hands, fluttering into the waste can, unencumbered.

Their oil is embedded into my flesh. Even now, after a few washings, I still put my hands to my face and remember the meal. The awkward conversations. All the ideas burning low in my mind about him and his mother and the whole deal, churning sickly in my heart and ruining the night's delicate tapestry of hope.

Such delicate things have such permanence.

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