A Glass of Wine by Cristina Fernandez Valls

She was having a glass of wine. The bottle was on the table, almost empty. Despite the smell of alcohol on her breath, she looked cold like a marble statue. I had never detected so much composure on her.

“I love you,” I told her. “When are you going to forgive me?”

“I will forgive when you feel like drinking tiny pieces of glass”, she said.

“Just sit with me.” She poured some wine for me.

“Taste it, it’s got a dense body, you brought it from New Zealand two weeks after Thomas was born. A great wine, you told me. Now, as you drink, a tiny piece will break from the glass. You will swallow it. It will go down your throat opening small wounds until, suddenly, your oesophagus will get perforated just halfway your chest. The tiny piece of glass will move wisely through your lungs, a scratch here, a deep cut there, all the way to your heart. It will get amazed by the monotonous incessant pumping of blood. With accurate precision, it will puncture it. You will take your hands to your chest: An ambulance, just call for an ambulance! They will lay you down. You are at work. The emergency team will come. They will give you oxygen and take you with blue lights at full speed. From the hospital, they will phone me. I will say I’m sorry, I’m working, I can’t go. Don’t look at me with disappointment, you would have done the same. You will be in a bed separated from the other dying people by thin white curtains. The doctors will come. They will take you to surgery. Suddenly, they will realize that no anaesthetic is left. We are back in the First World War, there is a shortage of medicines, they will need to do without it. The scalpel will open your skin and the saw will separate your ribs from your breastbone. We are back in the Middle Ages, there is no digital equipment to insert a catheter and heal the wound with microlaser treatment. It is an actual open-heart operation. Your organs are torn. The blood is everywhere. Everything is a mess. Naughty glass, look at what you did! We need to remove it. We are back at Neolithic times. A pagan rite will be performed with your blood, your lungs and your heart. The tiny piece of glass will fall on the ground and become part of the landscape of stones and stars. Your digestive system is ok. The wounds in your oesophagus will heal. Now, they have to stitch you up. You can use some of this wool. I knitted a jumper for Thomas with it when he was still a fetus. He used to move so much! You were on your trip. Business went good for you that year. The wool is sky blue. It will suit well with the colour of your eyes. Almost as new, you’ll come home. Just rest, walk through the beach, spend time with the family. The family is gone. They left while you were in hospital. The dog moved in with the postman. You try to breathe but you don’t have lungs. You try to feel but you don’t have a heart. Empty chest. You are alone”.

“I’m sorry” I couldn’t say anything else. “Why do you wish me all that suffering?” The tiny piece of glass was already moving through my internal tissue.

She finished her wine and stood up.

“Because that’s exactly how I feel.”

Cristina Fernandez Valls is a short story writer and a mum of two. She holds a Master Degree in Architecture and is completing a Bachelor’s Degree in Literature at the University of the Highlands and Islands in Scotland. She has been shortlisted several times in Spain and has got her work published with Cuentamontes, Casa Africa, and Tres Culturas del Mediterraneo.

Girl dressed as a fairy
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