Gold – by Cara

I’d just finished getting dressed that morning when I noticed glittery streaks on my towel. Glitter isn’t an unusual thing in my house; it’s the herpes of the craft world, after all. Do you remember, during covid, there was an analogy for it? Nine people are using glitter in a small room. How many of them are not covered in glitter? Well, I teach 30 tiny, sociopathic people in a classroom built for straight-backed Victorian paragons. The craft lessons are—well, I’ll leave it to your imagination. 

I gave the towel a shake, which seemed to make the marks worse, and threw it in the wash.  Dave had already gone to work, leaving a trail of toast crumbs and much more empty crockery than one person should need for breakfast. Sort or leave? It’d only get so much worse by this evening. I swept cups and plates into the dishwasher, left a half-finished coffee on the drainer and stuffed a folded slice of toast in my handbag. When I pulled it out to eat on the train, I kicked myself for not wrapping it first. More glitter. At least it’s all supposed to be biodegradable these days, I thought. Not enough time to grab something at the station. 

Work was, well, work. Someone had painted the handle of my favourite mug with gold paint; not all the way, just the bottom half of the handle. It was pretty, really. They’d been at my pens, too, which was less fun. It wasn’t smooth – it was granular and scratchy. I decided on origami for the craft for today. 

When I left work, though, the pushplate on the door seemed to change texture as my hand hit it. Thrown off my stride, I stopped and stepped back. As it swung, gold crystals in the plate caught my eye. I touched it again, pushed it away from me, moved my hand away. The pattern was different. 

I didn’t dare hold on on the train. I put gloves on, kept my hands in my lap. By the time I got home, the fingers on my left glove were rigid. Gold showed through from the other side of the fabric. What on earth? I sat on the wall, grasped the little finger of my left hand between the thumb and forefinger of my right. Nothing. I switched hands. Slowly, grains of gold started to spread where my forefinger met my little finger. I pulled my hands apart like I’d been burnt. Opened the door with my right hand. Treated the loaded finger like I’d injured it, kept it away from everything I could. But whenever I forgot, there it was, the glitter. 

Dave was late home and pissed. I was already half asleep, as he leant in for a beery, beardy, smoky kiss. I rolled over as he got into the bed, burrowed into his warmth. I fell asleep, oblivious, as my left hand softly cradled his face. 

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