The Glass Doll Made of Rose Thorns: Part 2


Melina Warda, Writer

What a stupid promise to make. 

She felt like a child, still awake after her bedtime where she didn’t know whether to cry or be angry that the winter air was seeping into the layers of her coat. It was kind of obvious it would, seeing as she hasn’t quite made it inside the doors yet and all she had worn underneath was an old button up and a pair of jeans. But she couldn’t help standing outside, teetering on her own two feet as she contemplated turning around and jumping back into the covers of her mattress. And then she could spend the night overthinking, regretting leaving, maybe hoping what it would be like to be in the comfort of another person’s company. 

Grief wouldn’t control her life. 

So she walked in. 

Lily didn’t quite know what she was expecting as she’s never really been to a bar alone but it wasn’t this. It was men, mostly, some she had seen in high school either playing on the football fields or drawing off in a corner in some class she forgot the name of. Either way it was alarming, seeing them so buddy-buddy when they so clearly established their hatred for each other just seven years ago. 

She looked away, crossing her arms against her chest. There was something unsettling in seeing those who didn’t hold grudges. 

And then she was at the bar, sitting on a stool that creaked if you twisted to the left. She had been there a while, not really paying attention to who came in and out of the doors. Except for one person. 

Mostly because when he was looking at her, the dark hair over his eyes would bounce back with his eyes to the other customers, pretending that all his attention wasn’t just on Lily staring up at the clock. 

From the description Mary had given, Lily could only assume that the man itching to catch another glimpse of her was none other than Joshua’s friend, Mick. She wasn’t weirded out by the extra attention either since it was better than nothing. So, she decided to do something a bit out of character, a spontaneous burst of emotion she couldn’t place surging through her chest. 

And she spoke. 

“You’re Mick, right?” She called out, his head whipping towards her stool. 

He laughed a bit as he wiped his hands on his apron. 

“How could you tell?” 

“Lucky guess,” she lied.

He laughed once more and motioned for if she wanted a drink, nodding when she pointed at the sink faucet. 

Mick was quick to hand her the glass of water, wiping his hands off with a rag and resting his arm on the table of the bar. 

“Not 21 yet?” he motioned to the glass of water as more people called out names of drinks that sounded more like roller coaster rides than an alcoholic beverage. 

“My boyfriend snuck me in,” she teased, looking back at one of the men trapped like sardines in a bar-shaped can, then saw the disappointed look on Mick’s face and said “I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t.” 

Though she didn’t think she was all that funny, he laughed for a third time before he got close to the side of her face and mumbled, “Careful Mesner, people are gonna steal you away if they realize you’re single.” 

She threw her head backwards for two reasons: because she was getting another sip of her water and because the proximity was an experience she wasn’t very used to. 

“I’ll try not to let that happen then.” 

He nodded before explaining that he got off in thirty minutes and then he would be free to talk more. And somehow Lily wasn’t worried about the spontaneousness of it all, the way the events collided one after another. 

And then what began as small talk bloomed into whether or not the bees are going extinct and how some of their childhood experiences are similar to one another, all the silly little reasons as to why they believed what they believed. For a moment she even felt comforted with the presence of a familiar stranger, being able to say all the things she was thinking out loud. To have someone actually comment on it instead of looking as if she were going to break into a million pieces. 

At some point, everyone treated her as a glass doll made of rose thorns, something so ceramic and harmful and fragile that it was put in someone’s attic in a box labeled “do not open.” 

But now she felt as though someone had opened her back up and discovered her. Dusted her off and made her feel alive again. It was so apparent now, how much she enjoyed Mick’s smiles as he took her into his car, his laughs as he drove her back to her home only ten minutes walking distance away, the feeling of his lips kissing her hand when she turned to leave. 

“I had a great time,” she said as she gripped the side of the car door’s handle, looking back at the two story cabin, decades of history all packed up into 5000 square feet. 

“I did too.” 

Lily looked back, watching Mick’s hand gravitate towards her own and begin to draw circles in her palm. She couldn’t believe someone so human was sitting in front of her. It had been a while since someone had made her feel so real.

So long since she had a taste of what enjoyment, happiness even felt like. 

“I haven’t had this much fun since my dad passed,” Lily said before really thinking about it. And then she regretted it and tried to undo the stain she left on the new t-shirt of a conversation by saying “sorry that probably ruined the moment,” while Mick assured her it was all fine and then it was an awkward competition of who can get things back to normal first. 

“Seriously it’s fine,” Mick said after an uneasy few seconds, winning with his sheer determination and calming hands that never left hers. 

Then there was a silence so loud she was sure breathing would do little to cease the fire. And she was left with one hand on the handle of the door as the other tried not to produce an abnormal amount of sweat. A deep feeling of unease swept the crown of her head and settled in the pit of her stomach, a feeling that could only be described as deep embarrassment permeating in her body. 

Seriously, Lily thought her night would end a bit better than this. 

“How about the night doesn’t end here?” Mick said as that silly little thought about people who knew you read your mind came back to her again. 

She almost laughed at the irony of it all before asking, “What do you mean?” all embarrassment somehow wiping away with the simplest of his words.

“I mean, I have a place we can go to—I know a place, actually.”

Though it was a jumbled mess of words all chopped up and served to her in a fruit salad, she understood it perfectly.

“Okay,” she laughed.

“Okay?” he asked more for himself, “okay,” for reassurance and a, “let’s go then,” for confirmation. 


Maybe she was expecting something more scenic. But it was another thing she had learned about Mick that night was that he always somehow had a surprise up his sleeve. 

“What do you think?” he asked her honestly as she looked up at the flickering sign with blocky letters reading ‘Diner open 24 hours.’

She had seen it before, probably even walked inside once. Thought that maybe the caved in awning or the water damaged brick walls would somehow appear more familiar to her. But driving past the outskirts of the town didn’t quite happen very often lately and therefore memories of anything in a 5 mile radius of her childhood home began to blur. 

So, she commented on the fact that it was quaint, a sweet word for a place you didn’t exactly know how to compliment and got out of the car then decided upon waking that linking arms with Mick was the best way to enter the diner door. 

“You can pick anything you want from the menu. My treat.” 

They were inside the diner, looking up at the led screens that pictured platters which were probably taken from commercials of Coney Islands, a loose example of what the meal would resemble. 

“What about a number two?” She pointed up at the screen as she said it, watching the fries and meaty cheeseburger begin to flicker. 

“For you or for me?”

“Unless you want to ask for two twos then I suggest you get something else.” 

There was a pause before he smiled and called over the cashier. 

“Two twos please.” 

They sat down and ate until there was nothing to be eaten anymore, laughing when one of them did something odd with their food, a memento of where they come from. But then it was over just as quickly as it began, pretending as if the sun wasn’t going to arrive anytime soon and turn the moment into a memory. And then she would mull over everything from her bed which she no longer saw as comfort and will begin to regret or overthink the little things she said or pretend what would happen if she made different choices. Dreaming, but not acting on it. 

And she was the same Lily as the night before. The regretful Lily, the one who was mean and sad and rude. The Lily who was a glass doll made of rose thorns. 

The grieving Lily. 

“Why are you crying?” 

She opened her eyes she didn’t realize were closed, wiping her tears she didn’t know were there. She laughed at the strangeness of it all, the randomness of being in a diner with a guy she had just started to appreciate while eating cheap burgers and fries. 

“I didn’t even realize I was,” she said as she laughed again, wiping her eyes as she looked anywhere but the man sitting in front of her. 

A small part of her brain was willing to make up an excuse for her, that maybe she wasn’t ready for a stranger to see all sides of her. But Mick was far from a stranger, and she was far from showing only the diluted version of herself, a paint stroke of the mural that she is.

Still, the tears were betraying her even now. Showing him how easily she could be pitied. How easily she could become the glass doll without trying. 

“You didn’t answer my question, Lily,” he said through the clouds in her vision. 

And she knew. But she was afraid that if she were to say something that it wouldn’t quite find a way to stop and she’d become bursting stitches, trying to contain a wound getting bigger and uglier and angrier. 

“I don’t have to,” she spoke, louder, meaner than she’d intended and made her way to the door, to the parking lot and the unknown of how she could possibly get home. 

And there was a blistering silence, the unwelcoming kind. A tiny piece of her broke more, cried because of it, realizing she had made yet another person inhale her toxic fumes and suffocate under her grief. 

This time, grief had gotten a hold of her. Taunting her with memories of the first man to call her his little girl. It made her throat burn up, begin to weigh as heavy as metal in the center of her neck. Made her eyes cluster with waves of tears as vast as the ocean. Made living a little less enjoyable. 

And then she was warm. Enclosed in a tightness only someone’s arms could provide. Her body began to feel the closeness and gave up on all rationality, racking with sobs like a baby at first breath. It had started a match with a fire she couldn’t quite contain, pouring out like boiling water onto whoever held her. Though she didn’t quite have to guess that it was Mick, head pressing against the top of her own to offer some small way of reassurance. 

She remembered it all now, the death of her father, the way it rendered her motionless as if she became the rotting body in a casket, not him. 

She hoped it did become her on that day, hoped that the heart attack that took his body and shut it down would’ve miraculously transferred to her, keeping him from suffering the long hours of agony that came with something as detrimental to a man of his age. Do anything to see him again.

Because it is an impossible thought that someone can just not be there one day. 

An impossible thought that a human who calls you a daughter and does whatever they can to keep you safe is now not there, leaving a vulnerable hollow shell in the corner of a dark room. 

Perhaps it was what made Lily mean, and sad, and bitter. Made her cry endlessly like she’s never cried before into the comfort of another person’s arms. Made her forget what it was like to feel alive again. 

But this was a living emotion, Lily knew. And eventually it calmed, but it never quite died out either. As Mick began to drive her back home she felt a feeling she didn’t quite grasp the name of. 

Though the deep, complex parts of her brain knew. 

Lily was content. 

“Why do you have to run so fast?” Lily called amongst the flowers in the open field. She laughed the way Mick liked her to and smiled the way Mick made her smile. 

He was running towards the back of the field where she had taken him before, towards a spot in which she had made her own personal collection of memories, good and bad. 

“You were walking too slow!” He yelled back, the trail of an echo letting his voice travel to her. 

They hadn’t been here in a few months and Mick was the first to suggest a visit funnily enough. Though they had been dating for a year and Mick had already learned the novel of stories that was Lily’s father, she couldn’t help but notice his eyes shift and fingers twitch nervously when they stood at the foot of his grave. The hopeful part of her had assumed he was nervous like all boys are when they meet their girlfriend’s fathers, wondering whether or not they wore the wrong tie or if their hair was styled right at the sight of him. If that was the case, it calmed her in a way. To know that some parts of her father would be planted on earth forever, like whispers of a forbidden secret. 

Except her father himself was dug into a graveyard, words written loudly on stone.

Wesley “Wes” Mesner 

A loving father and friend to many 

“Don’t let anything become the boss of your life”

March 3 1964 – November 17 2014

She laughed at the irony of his saying. Something he reminded her of often. She wished something so simple could’ve been explained to her more clearly. But she’s accepted the fact that the person who she wanted to be taught by most was gone. 

Accepted that it is simply the beauty of being a human rich with life.