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Story by Michelle Garren Flye (Read author interview) June 16, 2005

She carries a china plate in the space behind her ribcage. She thinks it resembles those delicate pieces her grandmother used at teatime, the ones you could almost see through. She never sees those plates anymore; she figures they’ve all been broken – all but the one in her chest.

When she yells at her kids or fights with her husband, she spends the rest of the day with her arms folded, using all her strength to hold the china in one piece. Sometimes there’s so much yelling in her house, the plate shudders until she can’t stand it. But she’s afraid to run away.

When she realized she’d never have a chance to apologize to her father, a crack that began years before spread almost all the way across. But the plate didn’t fall to pieces. She wonders what will happen to her when it does.

Sometimes the tiniest of the cracks mend themselves. Like the time she stopped to listen to the street performers playing by the harbor. The day was pleasant and warm, her children were happy and the plate resonated with the music. Her feet began to move with the vibration and her husband joined her, then many more people from the gathered crowd. And while the plate sang, it felt almost whole and new again.

About the Author

Michelle Garren Flye lives on the coast of North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a couple of cats. Sometimes she writes. For more information, visit http://www.geocities.com/mgflye.

This story appeared in Issue Nine of SmokeLong Quarterly.
SmokeLong Quarterly Issue Nine
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