Like My Grandmother’s China

by | Dec 13, 2022 | Fiction, Issue Thirty

You would be so surprised, I know, to learn the real reason I stayed with you far too long. One brisk October day a decade ago, walking up the steep slope of Eugenia Street, we passed a house with well-tended planter boxes. You glanced at the fuchsia nestled there and said, “Those flowers look like ballet dancers.” And indeed they did: the upside-down purple petals were tulle skirts; the drooping pistils were slender, elongated legs.
It was an off-the-cuff comment. Because you said it so casually, not looking for a reaction, I was charmed. I treasured it. It was like my grandmother’s china with the forget-me-nots that we never used—I was too afraid of breaking it—but displayed in the hutch she’d left me. Every few months I would wipe off the dust from those delicate saucers and tea cups with a soft cloth. And isn’t loving something a kind of use?
For years, I made excuses for you. I convinced myself that one remark exposed your otherwise hidden sensitivity, your capacity for love. At worst, I thought you were an unfortunate choice I must live with, like the avocado green we painted our house. I endured you for years, our bad marriage for years, based on that one lightly-flung simile.
So when I hear people bewail the potential of figurative language to do harm, that’s what I think of: you and me walking up precarious Eugenia Street, you admiring the fuchsia, and me, so young and dumb, admiring you.

Read more Fiction | Issue Thirty

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