Today my mother broke every dish in the house. The Lladro Three
Wisemen were the first to go. I didn't mind, in fact, I even helped
her trash those Asian figurines that loomed on the former glass shelf
unit in our living room. She'd bought them when she took a Feng Shui
extension program at the local college.
The whole thing took less than an hour, and when we'd finished, Mom
said, "Fuck your father, let's get in the Explorer and drive to
My sister was starting to decoupage ashtrays out of ceramic plate
fragments. "Don't do that, Frieda," I said. "You might cut yourself."
Before we reached the interstate, Frieda fell asleep. In the quiet
twilight, I thought about the Wise men, broken dishes, shards of
rubbish. Just before leaving the house, I'd snatched a Fu Dog head,
stuffed it in my coat pocket for protection. Now I rubbed its head,
feeling the jagged edges at its neck where it broke.
I glanced sideways at Mom, but she stared straight ahead, jaw
clenched. I wanted to ask if we would ever come back, but I knew.