Shattered Glass This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

February 19, 2009
He slowly turns the pliers in his hand, curling the wire around itself. With one last squeeze, the next piece of his beach glass mobile is complete. It sparkles as he holds it up to the sun and translucent brown, blue, and green dance across weathered skin.

The soft sound of clinking glass echoes through the workshop. The small room is furnished with a table and a folding chair. Older mobiles hang from the ceiling, moving slightly from side to side. A 25-year-old fan sits in the corner, blowing softly, ruffling the pages of the book emblazoned with a cross that sits on the corner of the table. One framed photograph stands next to the book. It is of a younger man – brown bottle in hand, arms around a smiling woman – grinning into the camera on a picturesque beach. The photograph isn’t there for happy nostalgia. It is a reminder of what he has lost and what he still has to gain.

He pushes his wire-rimmed glasses up his nose and settles into the worn folding chair. He sifts carefully through the round-edged beach glass, looking for the right piece to attach next.

The browns and greens shine back into his eyes. He can still identify the color of glass that each beer brand used for their bottles. This green is for Hefeweizen, this brown for Budweiser. He wonders, as he always does, if these well-washed shards are from bottles he himself carelessly threw into the ocean.

The mobile is for his granddaughter, Andi. Her brother, Gordon, has a similar one – well, he does if Melissa hasn’t thrown it out. He wouldn’t blame his daughter if she had. She has every right to still hate him. She has every right to ignore his existence.

In his daydreams, the lovingly crafted mobiles hang over the cribs. Melissa and her husband might hate them but decide that the children need something of their only living grandparent. Melissa might use them as a lesson: never touch glass bottles; the stuff inside is pure poison.

Another piece is firmly attached, and he checks his watch. His meeting is in an hour. They are going to play cards. His wife loved cards. Every time they play at a meeting, he is reminded of how she had begged him to go to a meeting, to talk to someone, to call his brother, to play chess with Melissa, to take Max hunting for shells, to walk the dog on the beach, to feed the cat, to do anything but drown himself in a brown glass bottle.

He finds another piece of beach glass and carefully inserts a wire in the small hole, threading his past and tying it in a mobile to hang over his granddaughter’s bed, so she might know some day that he never meant to hurt anyone.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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This article has 154 comments. Post your own now!

nocturnne said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 11:07 pm
I am in complete agreement with you. Exquisite piece of writing. However, I think it is implied that the grandfather is/was an alcoholic, and the meetings he goes to are AA meetings, because one never ceases to be an alcoholic.
nocturnne replied...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 11:08 pm
Sorry, this was meant to be a response to OliviaW. Clicked the wrong button. Hope it makes more sense now
4everluvjc said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 7:28 pm
Wow. I totally get it. Wow. You potrayed it so wonderfully. I am so impressed. It is so complex.
legolas_elf said...
Dec. 1, 2009 at 7:30 am
i love the writing style, and I'm really in conflict over whether to hate the grandpa or to feel sorry for him i got really sad at the end but the descriptions and the sort of dreamy floating writing style was great good job
Veritytrue said...
Nov. 19, 2009 at 6:23 pm
Wow! This is a beautiful piece of writing! I love your descriptions, your word choice, the way you slowly develop the story and the man's past. This is something worth expanding on, but I also like it just the way it is! Great job!
firstsnowfalls This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 8:18 pm
Wonderful! :) bravo!
bamboom212 said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 7:40 pm
lol this waz amazing. Very descriptive. I love it.
Oliviaw said...
Nov. 9, 2009 at 5:14 pm
This was a beautifully crafted piece of work, and I felt very sad towards the end. I don't know if I support the grandfather or dislike him. The writer should have made what the grandfather did exactly to his wife and daughter a little more clearer to make the reader fully understand. But from what I gained in the story, the grandfather killed his wife somehow with the glass, and therefore, his daughter hates him.
blacktwilightfairy13 replied...
Feb. 27, 2010 at 9:02 am
I don't think he killed his wife, he wouldn't be looking for glass at the beach, he'd be sitting in jail. I thought maybe he is disliked by his family because he couldn't stop being an alcholic?
~dontcha~ replied...
May 26, 2010 at 5:41 am
ok, look at AriaRulzTheWorld's comment and she explains it all for you, little OliviaW. If maybe you read a bit more carefully, you would actually get the story!!
Oliviaw replied...
May 26, 2010 at 7:02 pm
I think I understand the piece fine. People have different perspectives on things, you can't force someone to believe one thing.
25 king said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 11:26 am
this story was very well writen idk how you did it so good people should pay to read this omg where are you from france :)
larsennnnn said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 11:26 am
omg ur story was amazing your my here i love u so much sincerely brandon allan larsen :)
David Deepwood said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 11:12 am
Good story, I think its a success.
ella99 said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 11:04 am
good story! i love it l0l
enlightenedbyink said...
Nov. 3, 2009 at 10:29 am
I loved this story, I understood the hidden message, and thought it was lovely. Thank you for sharing this deep piece of art.
xomolls This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 28, 2009 at 7:58 am
Stunning. The Melancholy undertone is brilliant.
StarSister7 said...
Aug. 28, 2009 at 3:24 pm
Whoa! That was really good. but what did the guy do that was so bad? i know it had something to do with drinking... but that was really good.
KinseyLlama This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Aug. 25, 2009 at 3:00 pm
Oh, wow... That was amazing. I'm inspired. :) Awesome job, awesome writing, awesome subcontext... Awesome. :D
earthgil said...
Aug. 24, 2009 at 4:03 am
That was beautiful! I loved the hidden message in the unique descriptions! Very inspiring!
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