89.5 WNIJ recently invited listeners to participate in Three-Minute Fiction, a “very short story” contest inspired by an NPR series of the same name. GK Wuori, a DeKalb native, Pushcart Prize-winning author and Illinois Arts Council Fellow, wrote the story prompt and selected five winners and five honorable mention commendations.
Author Tamara Gaumond was a runner-up in the Three-Minute Fiction competition with Shattered.
“Shattered” by Tamara Gaumond
I admired my newly manicured finger, delicately poised to push the European-style flush-button, a gleaming porcelain disc enhanced with a polished chrome ring.
“Even her toilet is cool,” I thought, while admiring the rest of the bathroom; modern, but not cold; elegant, but not pretentious.
As I ran my fingers around the rim of the vessel-styled sink, made of Italian glass, the soft blue color of a Caribbean bay, I thought about how much this night meant to me. This was my fifth date with Graham Baker. We were really hitting it off. Graham was everything I was looking for in a relationship. He was successful, fit, excruciatingly handsome. He loved travel and culture. He was extremely intelligent, but also fun and kind.
I tapped a bauble dangling from a mini-chandelier hanging over the vanity. Another benefit of getting close to Graham was being included in his social circle. Here we were at a cocktail party hosted by Katherine Lewis. Katherine was THE socialite and revered by everyone, especially by the “About Town” section of the newspaper. Katherine was stunning. She was always elegant and had an electrifying smile. She was philanthropic and on the board of absolutely everything.
I looked at my reflection in the mirror as I lathered my hands in Eucalyptus-scented soap. Graham assured me that Katherine, one of his closest friends, was extremely warm even though she could seem intimidating. He said he was excited for her to meet me, that she would be especially interested in my career, and that once Katherine included you in her circle, you were a trusted friend forever.
The vanity mirror was three separate sections of glass each adorned by a frame of mosaic glass tiles. As I adjusted my hair, I noticed something odd. The section of mirror I was using had a tiny gap the length of the frame.
“Could this be a medicine cabinet?” I thought. “People don’t put medicine cabinets in bathrooms like this.”
I touched the mirror gently . . . then scolded myself for being curious about its contents. After all, there was nothing more pedestrian than the contents of a medicine cabinet. I remembered debating with friends, such a scenario in an episode of a popular sitcom. My friends were shocked that anyone would snoop in someone’s medicine cabinet. I vowed that day never to peek again.
But this wasn’t just any medicine cabinet; this belonged to Katherine Lewis. My curiosity about the contents was intoxicating.
“You can’t!” I scolded myself. . . But I knew I could.
I peeked out of the bathroom into the hallway and could hear the ongoing gaiety of the party. I closed the door quietly, went back to the vanity and turned on the faucet for background noise. Then, I touched the mirror. With no knobs or exposed hinges, I assumed the door had a magnetic clasp requiring a little push, . . . which I did . . . gently . . . .on the corner . . . and the door popped open.
Then suddenly, with a deafening crash, the mirror fell from the wall.
“Oh!” I gasped. “Oh no-no-no!”
I tried to stop the plummeting mirror, but it was too heavy. A sharp corner dropped into the glass sink creating a crack that sprawled in every direction like lightning. Tile pieces from the mosaic frame rained to the ground. The big mirror, with cabinet attached, cartwheeled out of the sink and onto the marble floor with the sickening thud of a car accident.
I stood in horror and watched as it all shattered.
For more information on the Three-Minute Fiction “very short story” competition, please visit wnij.org.