For weeks I watched a simple table fork make a transformation. She’d been dropped on a busy Route 3A in Tyngsboro Massachusetts and day after day, moment by moment, she got pounded by cars and trucks.
She was ground as flat as a hot roof shingle.
She was on my walk route and each day I’d look for her. There she was—a flat utensil, scarred and scratched, always within a few feet of her location the day before. We don’t tend to move much when we’re outclassed by others’ mobility. Her station was dictated by her evolved form; she was flatter than could be made on purpose.
She wasn’t simply crushed; the rough pavement had left countless pits in her shiny surface. Such character!
One day, I decided to rescue her. I had it all figured out: I’d carry her home and run her through the dish washer. Then perhaps I could set her in a frame for an art exhibit—she’d steal the show! Why not? Her form was a beautiful statement and also, my impression was she was as clean as anything in my kitchen sink.
When I got home I was outvoted and in the trash went my acquisition.
Dear flattened fork: I thought I was doing you good, and instead I did you in. Were you better off in the street? Yes you got beat up minute-by-minute but your identity was intact. Should I have not intervened?
I took a photograph of her, in situ. Does that picture keep her alive in some way? No one thinks, on the day they’re stamped, “I’m going to be known for an atrophic function.” She thought she was destined for Mac and Cheese Mondays, and Thick Soup Sundays. Should I have left her alone or was she doomed the day she was dropped?
The photograph was sold to a customer who framed and mounted the picture for their wall. Dear fork, you were back at home, at last! No one’s ever going to grind you again. No one’s going to look left, right, and left, pivot and spin on you. They will look right at you, straighten you with a gentle touch, smile and love you. In the best way it could be done, I suppose we can say you were rescued.
I know this: There is hope for the broken. The solution may be in a different form than what you’ve dreamed about, and your rescue will always involve someone watching for you and stopping for you. If you’re fortunate, someone will make a pitch on your behalf, and even when the answer is “No, absolutely not!”, we can still find another way.