Friday, December 1, 2017

Chapter 6: My Mama's Plate

“Grandma, How do you get burn marks off of the hood of the stove?”

“Scrub with baking soda, wipe with vinegar, and if you have to, touch it up with paint if there are any scratches. Do that and no one will ever know that something got burned up in the kitchen.”

“Thanks, Grandma. You can probably fix anything.”

“I don’t know bout that. But if something of mine is broken, I want to try and fix it and make it right. At least make it look brand new, if it’s going to be in the house. Everyone that comes in the house have to see it and I gotta look at it everyday. You know, don’t nothing make me sadder than looking at broken stuff. I had broke this beautiful china plate my mama had gave me. I never thought it would break and to make it so, I left it in the cupboard, sitting on a stand. Just showing it off. One night, your mother ran in the house all riled up. She had scratches on her, her eye was black, and she had blood in her mouth. She looked like she ran all the way home from God knows where. All she could manage to say over and over again is that ‘He’s coming. He’s coming.’ I ain’t say a word. I was too mad. I just walked up stairs to go get my baby. As soon as I unlocked baby, I here the front door kicked in and I hear Kareemah screaming. I wanted to run down stairs but something told me to take my time and make sure baby had all she needed. As I began to walk to the stairs, I hear Kareemah's man friend, at the time, cussing and yelling. Then, I hear a thump, and I hear glass shattering everywhere. I finally get to the bottom of the stairs. That man and Kareemah were too busy wrestling to realize I had entered the room. I cocked baby and fired a warning shot that hit the wall directly behind the man’s head. They both screamed and I walked over to him slowly with baby leading me and pressed her right against his forehead. I never forget, I said as calmly as I could,"

‘If you ever touch my daughter, my door, or break anything that belongs to me ever I again, I promise you I won’t miss. Get the hell out of my house.’

"He ran out of the house and Kareemah was on the floor sobbing and saying she was so sorry. But all I could pay attention to was my mama’s plate shattered on the floor with the rest of the glasses that were in the cupboard. Before I could even comfort Kareemah , I picked up every piece of that plate and laid it on the cupboard right next to its stand. I walked passed the broken plate for months. Every time I saw it on the shelf, I thought about my mama and I got really sad. One day, I looked at the broken pieces and thought about how my mama served a dish on that plate every Sunday. Right then and there, I realized I had never used the plate because I wanted to hold onto it forever. I thought that plate was so precious. Then I thought some more. I remembered every thing wrong with that plate. It was chipped on the side, the paint on the flowers was scratched and faded, and my grandmother’s name as scratched in on the back. So, I got some glue, and I was finna fix it. I sat at this table for hours trying piece that plate back together. Only to realize that the plate no longer looked like the plate my mama gave me. It was missing pieces and the glue was all clumped up in between the cracks. I got so disgusted and threw it away. But I kept that stand on the cupboard. Three years later, while shopping for your mother’s engagement present, I found a plate that looked almost identical to my mama’s plate. I had already bought your mother some silver spoons and that ran me over. I used my last to buy that plate. I got home unwrapped the plate and put it on the stand on the cupboard where my mama’s plate had been. I was happy at first. But as the week gone on, every time I looked at the plate, I thought about how it broke in the first place. I was sad all over again, chile. The night of Kareemah’s engagement party, I was finishing up wrapping her spoons. I was walking out the door but I stopped. I just couldn't stop staring at that plate on the cupboard. I finally grabbed it off of the shelf and filled out the card to give to your mother. I ain't have time wrap it, so I took my scarf from around my head and wrapped the plate in that. Your mama smiled when she opened the silver spoons but she cried when she saw the plate.”

“The white plate with the gold trim and pink flowers on it? She used to always use that plate. I wonder if she still does.”

“She does, baby.” I suddenly got real sad, but Grandma just looked at me and smiled anyway.

“Yep. So when I got back home, I threw that empty plate stand on the cupboard away. I say all that to say: even stuff that you think won’t ever be fixed can be fixed some kinda way.”


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Artwork: Gracious Living Guide

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