Author Topic: Dishes - 550 words  (Read 1220 times)

Offline Clarius

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Dishes - 550 words
« on: June 08, 2014, 05:10:44 PM »
Sometimes inspiration comes when we least expect it. This popped into my head while I was doing the dishes. It was largely written as presented. Any comments/critiques would be welcome.

   When the first of the mourners began to arrive he went down to greet them. There was no mother now to see to everything while he hide upstairs, revelling in the freedom to smoke a  cigarette as he lay across the big brass bed, the way he’d done when his father had passed.

   He shook hands with strangers and heard their condolences, and accepted moist kisses from aunts he’d not seen since last time. Female cousins, as warm and soft as kittens, were embraced, and prayers offered up to Saint Anthony to spare his blushes. The women were sent to the kitchen to see to the food, the men shown to the parlour to pay their respects. Beer was served to neighbours, whiskey to relatives, and the priest had the sherry decanter always on hand.

   In the parlour he supplanted an upstart old uncle from the father’s place by the fire and held court with the neighbours about weather and livestock. In the corners the spinsters huddled and speculated as to whether he’d marry now he’d the place to himself, and everywhere mothers contrived to introduce him to daughters left by ill fortune to desiccate on the shelf.

   When the food was eaten and the house drunk dry he dismissed offers of help, made on behalf of their daughters by the mothers of old maids, to help clean the place up and set everything to right. He swept all of them before him, like a litter of reluctant puppies, out into the yard, saw them through the gate and waved them up the lane till they were over the brow.

   Back inside, in the silence of the house that was now his, he drew his father’s watch from his waistcoat pocket, consulted its hands and adjusted the grandmother’s clock accordingly. He took the small shovel from beside the hearth and smoored the fire with ashes from the pail. As he passed through the hallway he tapped the barometer with his finger and watched the needle settled on the wrong side of fair.

   In the kitchen he took off his jacket, hung it over the back of the chair at table’s head, rolled up his sleeves and set to the mounds of crockery piled about the place. He dried the cutlery first, putting each piece into its accustomed place. The plates were next and he put these to one side. When he was done he went to set these on the low shelf, where his mother could reach them, and stopped when he realised he had no need. The house was his now and he could arrange things to suit himself.

   Next morning he came down for breakfast and, the sleep still heavy in his eyes, reached for a plate from the low shelf. His thick, clumsy fingers, finding only a bowl where a plate should be, rebelled at the unfamiliar shape and let it drop onto the stone floor, where it shattered into four pieces.

   He sat at the table and cried then for the first, not for the loss of a cheap soup bowl, but for the loss of a mother who had made a life where everything had a place and everyone was sure of what their place was and of never having to doubt they belonged.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2014, 06:15:16 PM by Clarius »
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline Mrs N

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Re: Dishes - 550 words
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2014, 05:29:39 PM »
Oh, Clarius, I loved this. Got a bit of a lump in the throat at the end.

I thought he'd bumped her off at first, with the barometer tapping the wrong side of fair, could have gone either way.

Thanks for the read. Hope your own dishes remained intact. :)

Offline Alice, a Country Gal

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Re: Dishes - 550 words
« Reply #2 on: June 08, 2014, 06:03:45 PM »
Clarius, did you read the Sticky for this board?

The reason I ask is that the Gallery was created as a place to post if you don't particularly want critiques or if you welcome them, you need to let readers know this up front.

Please read:
http://mywriterscircle.com/index.php?topic=14381.0
MWC Charity Publications.
http://www.lulu.com/spotlight>
The universe is made of stories, not of atoms. -Muriel Rukeyser, poet and activist (15 Dec 1913-1980)

R. L. Copple's: http://www.rlcopple.com/

I will not let anyone walk through my mind with their dirty feet.
-Mohandas K. Gandhi

Offline Clarius

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Re: Dishes - 550 words
« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2014, 06:13:43 PM »
Sorry. :-[ I just though it was axiomatic - by there being a reply button there - that people would comment (or not) as they saw fit to.
O wad some Pow'r the giftie gie us
To see oursels as others see us

 - Robert Burns

Offline 2par

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Re: Dishes - 550 words
« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2014, 06:15:24 PM »
Lovely

Offline bri h

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Re: Dishes - 550 words
« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2014, 07:27:27 PM »
Very good, but has typo's. Enjoyed reading it mate. B
Fare thee well Skip. We're all 'Keening' now. xbx