Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Writing Prompt: My Mother Broke Every Plate

From page 260 in "642 Things to Write About:"

Prompt: Start a story with the line "My mother broke every plate in the house that day."

My mother broke every plate in the house that day. Shards of blue and white porcelain sparkled across the kitchen tile like fragments of her life. She'd collected each piece meticulously. A saucer here, a plate, a teacup.

I held the only survivor behind my back. A sugar bowl. I wanted to place it gently in a basket and send it down a river to keep it safe from my mother's wrath. From her grief.

The violence of her act shocked even her. She stood quivering, surrounded by the shattered remnants of her collection. For the first time, the willow print made me feel like weeping. 

I sat silently for my own protection, and for that of the refugee that I clutched. The small bowl felt cold against my skin.

She'd been washing the dishes when the phone rang. I was supposed to be drying them.

The first plate dropped from her hands by accident. The second she let go, releasing her grip slowly. Intentionally. The third she threw.

Then the next. And the next. Harder and harder, building herself up like a tsunami. A ceramic wave crashed through her. The result of some far off earthquake. 

The last plate slipped through her fingers like sand. It landed atop its ruined family, a single chip in its oriental edge.

The wave collapsed, leaving my mother alone in the rubble.

Check out Claudia Bookwright's response to the same prompt here.