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When a Plate Breaks

Short story By: Stephanie Smallshaw
Other



Have you ever thought about what a plate thinks when it breaks? Learn by reading this short story from the perspective of a neglected, depressed plate that's been sitting in a cupboard for the past ten years.


Submitted:Jul 8, 2012    Reads: 29    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   


I guess you could say that I've lived a pretty good life. I mean, I can't exactly complain. I've done everything a plate dreams to do. I've carried some of the finest meals under the sun, ranging from a steaming steak to a mountain of sushi. Forks have scraped against my face, but I don't think there's a better feeling than that. Knives, on the other hand, can hurt a little more. But, thankfully, nobody really used knives on me unless they had company over.

I can't exactly say how long I had been in the cupboard. The people had been using me less and less, preferring to use the more expensive, better-looking china platters. Sure, I felt neglected, but what can a plate do? I can't scream to be used. I can't open the cupboard and hop right out, seeking new adventures. I can't do any of that. So, I just sat there, gathering dust, waiting to be plucked from my misery.


After a while, I began to forget the feeling of food. All I could remember was that it was a wonderful feeling to have fresh, warm food on my face, being slowly picked away by the person that was eating it. I felt important. If I wasn't here, I had always thought, the people won't have anything to keep their meals safe. They'd have to eat on the table. Oh, how they'd hate that.


In my time trapped in the cupboard, I began to hear new noises in the house. Laughter. Squeals. This was all new to me; I wasn't used to this kind of noise. What could it be? I thought, longing for someone to open the cupboard so I could get a glimpse.


Days passed, but all I saw was the dusty inside of the cabinet. I just sat there, alone, pondering life. What else would I do? All I had control of was my brain, and I wasn't about to let that go to waste. You see, humans think that inanimate objects like plates and spoons can't think at all. They believe that we're not alive. Now, that's not a problem for us inanimate objects. We don't really want to be discovered. We just go about with our business, living among the humans. No human would ever suspect a thing of us. If someone claimed that inanimate objects were alive and thinking, everyone would think he was crazy. "That's impossible," they'd say. "It simply doesn't make any sense. That man is a nut!" Well, here's the thing that humans around the world can't seem to accept: Not everything makes sense. No one knows how things like plates and cups acquired the power to think; we just can. And we don't argue against that. We're aware that we can think, and we don't question it. Humans, on the other hand, have to have an explanation for everything. They're even trying to explain how the earth first came to be. My question is, How do they know? They weren't alive back then. No one was. They've just got to love that they're living, and forget about questioning it.


Just when I was beginning to think that I'd never see the light of day again, the cabinet creaked open. I could feel my heart racing; it was the first time the cupboard had opened in what seemed like years! A small, pudgy hand reached up, clutching a saltshaker. I tried to see who it was, but I couldn't. The person was so small and short that I couldn't even see the top of his head.


The hand placed the saltshaker in the cupboard, and then it was dark again.


"Hello?" I asked. That's another thing-inanimate objects can talk to each other. It's just something that we've always been able to do. Another thing without an explanation. We can't see each other speaking; we can only hear it. But that's better than nothing, I suppose.

"There's someone in here?" I heard the saltshaker say.

"Yes, there is," I said. "I'm a plate."

"I'm a saltshaker. Nice to meet you, Plate."

"Nice to meet you, too. Say, Saltshaker, what's it like?"

"What's what like?"

"What's it like outside this cupboard?"

The saltshaker was silent for a moment. "You mean you don't know?"

"I do know, but I haven't been out of here in ages. I've got a dust coat on me about a mile thick."

"Well, Plate, it's wonderful! The children are the best. Boy, do they love their salt. Little Addie-the one that just put me in here-is becoming interested in clearing out the cabinets."

"There are children here? How many?"

"Three, I think. The oldest one is called Burton, but I don't see much of him. He's really skinny, that one. The middle one is Mary, who's as beautiful as anything you've ever seen. And the youngest one, as I've already told you, is Addie."

"I've missed out on a lot, then. Last I knew, there were only two people here. Do you know of a Henry and Jackie Becker?"

"Of course! They're the parents of the children! You mean to tell me that you've been stuck in here since before they had children?!"

"I suppose so!"

"It's a wonder that Burton or Mary didn't find you! They loved searching in the cabinets, those two. But I think Addie loves it the most. She's a quick one, I tell you. Her parents hate it when she comes near this cupboard-it's their special cupboard, they say-but she doesn't care one bit. That's why she hid me in here. I'm usually out on the table, but she's taken to hiding things, now. I don't know what'll happen once dinner comes; they're having chicken and peas, and Henry can't go a day without his salt."

I sighed. The outside life seemed wonderful, and I've been missing out all these years.

Suddenly, the cupboard opened for the second time in almost a decade. A strip of light fell on the saltshaker and me, and then it became dark again as a face peered inside.

"Here's the saltshaker," said the face in a manly voice. "Addie, I don't want you hiding this anymore!"

Then, suddenly, the man glanced at me. His eyes bulged out of his sockets, and he turned around, yelling, "Jackie, c'mere! You've got to see this!"

My heart-if I've got one, that is-leapt in my chest. They were finally going to use me! They remembered me from the good old day, and now they were finally going to use me!

I heard footsteps. "Henry, what is it?" asked a woman. Jackie! I thought happily. She hasn't changed a bit!

Tentatively, Henry brought me out of the cupboard. Then, in a swift moment, he handed me to Jackie. "Look at this old thing!"

Jackie gasped in disgust, and then-by accident-let go of me. I could see dust floating around in the air, and for the first time in years, I wondered about what I looked like. To be honest, I probably didn't look too clean. But, at that moment, I suddenly didn't care about how I looked. All I could think was that I was falling, faster and faster, to the cold, hard floor.

No one saved me. One of my best friends had once told me that a plate is only able to scream one time in its life-when hitting the floor after being dropped. Humans call it a "crash," but it's not a crash at all. It's the sound of a plate's scream.

I had never believed that until I hit the ground.

It wasn't painful. In fact, it was quite pleasant. But, because I had been expecting the worst, I still let out the loudest scream I could. I saw Jackie and Henry wince at the sound, and a baby began to cry in another room. But, suddenly, I couldn't hear anymore. I began to rise, higher and higher towards the sky. Looking down, I saw the married couple bending over my dead body, shattered on the ground. But I felt no pain. I just kept on rising, the image of my two former owners fading. Finally, I thought. Finally I'm free.





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