I wrote this as a timed writing exercise: we had fifteen minutes to write something using the above title.
My mother’s best china mug slipped out of my hand and crashed to the floor
The silence in the room was the loudest thing I had ever heard. A single piece of pot rocked back and forth on its curved edge; the rest of it lay in a hundred little pieces around me like confetti surrounding the bride. Only I wasn’t the bride – I felt like a murderer.
For a moment I stood and looked at the disaster. The broken dream. We had been getting along so well, this visit, my mother and I, almost as if we were about to become friends again, as if all the bitterness and disagreements over the last ten years could be set aside while we made a fresh start.
And now this.
Could it be mended, I wondered. Probably, with enough time and trouble. And patience. She’d expect me to try, of course – if I swept up the pieces now she’d accuse me of being unfeeling. If I sat down to piece the broken shards together she’d tell me it was a useless task.
I could remove the evidence completely and maybe she would never know. That would work with other people maybe, but not with my mother. That mug had sat on the same place on the mantelpiece for thirty seven years; she’d drunk her tea out of it for the last twenty.
No, there was nothing to do but to own up. And then to try and put together the pieces of our relationship.