THE CANDY JAR • by Sebastian Brown

I told him that when the candy jar was empty, we were over. It was a joke, of course, my way of lightening our eventual breakup. Despite the fact I was quite certain we’d get married, have kids, do all that nonsense.

He found the jar at a sparse flea market in some sad field outside of Cirencester. One of those rare occasions where you find exactly what you’re looking for in the tumult of broken, discarded former possessions.

Some alternative relative of his had bequeathed him a selection of old-style boiled sweets, a gift questionable in itself. An amount of which no one would buy unless they hoped for serious dental misfortune for the rest of their life.

Despite a hairline crack on one side and a chip in the heavy frosted glass lid, he deemed it the perfect receptacle, bargained the price down, and brought it home.?The jar was resolute in our lives. Existing in its own right as a beacon of our standing relationship.

My joke tinged the atmosphere as I plunged my hand into the candy assortment, raising my eyebrows with a mocking threat. Visitors to the house would casually take a piece of candy, not noticing the smirk pulling at my lips. A flash of concern as I remarked how low the candy in the jar was getting. Friends leaving after a dinner party plucking candy at will, filling their pockets for the drunken journey home. Those nights I’d leave the lid by its side, just in case he hadn’t noticed how depleted it had become. In the morning, the jar would gleam with untouched plastic wrappers. And of course, once we’d had children, well, that was just a constant war to ensure the jar never ran out. For many years it found a home on a high shelf where small sticky fingers could no longer reach it. Until we’d all become either adults or elderly.

The jar followed us across two apartments, three houses, four children and a myriad of pets we’d all wept over. He’d never allowed it to run dry, not in all those years.

Then, one late day in autumn last year, I broke the jar. I tripped, knocked into the dresser, pushed my hand across the surface and off it went. Careening into the air. I watched it contact the floor, breaking clean in two. The glass bauble on top of the lid snapping off, rolling away, free from the confines of attachment.

At first, I wept openly, my eyes already wet from the injury of falling on my knee. Strange, how something can seem indestructible after so many years of unfettered use and appreciation.

I glued the pieces back together with a calm resolve. An understanding that now, more so than ever, the joke existed only as a means to remind myself what I’d always known. That our love, broken in many places, held up with sheer will and some crazy glue, had been there long before the jar.

Sebastian Brown lives and works in London, England. After studying acting at GSA Conservatoire, Sebastian went on to gain a masters in filmmaking from Kingston University. He currently works in production for Film and Television while writing in his spare time. Undergoing several writing courses, Sebastian is working on his first novel.

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