When I was in early high school or late middle school, we had an assembly in the gym featuring some guy talking about, I guess, science. I actually don't remember the stated purpose of the assembly, but I do remember that the guy had liquid nitrogen, into which he dipped a rose and one of those cheap foam rubber balls. He tapped the frozen rose against a table and it shattered into hundreds of tiny pieces. He dropped the ball on the floor, as if to bounce it, and it also shattered, the pieces skittering across the gym floor. The liquid nitrogen was so cold it changed the rose and the ball from something soft and pliable to something brittle and easily shattered.
I haven't been exposed to liquid nitrogen, but I have been exposed to tremendous stress these last few months and I have come to a point where I feel it in every inch of my body, not merely in my head and heart where stress usually lives. I feel stiff and inflexible at a cellular level. I feel the slightest tap, physical or emotional, could break me into a million teeny pieces, pieces sharp enough to cut those around me and do lasting damage.
What I keep wondering, though, is when the break comes, will the pieces of me make that same almost musical tinkling sound the rose made as it shattered all those years ago?
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