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A New Chinaware Collection

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I grew up in small town, safe and sound. Cherry blossoms brought hope to the cold dark days, crickets chirped through the sticky summer afternoons, autumn leaves rained from the tree houses up high and icy angels snowed onto my windows when Santa came around. I loved the nature and wildlife that surrounded me.

My family was a typical one, it consisted of six members; my father and mother, my older sister May Belle, my second sister Mary Jane, me, and my little brother John, and our dog Scruffy. Seven if you count Scruffy, six if you don’t. I grew up in the Tennessee Valleys, where the weather was always changing. We each owned a horse and rode them around. All of us were homeschooled, and our dad worked as the painter of our town. He painted all of the houses in the district, and he was a proud father. My mother was beautiful. Her golden blonde locks flowed past her shoulders, her facial features as stunning as a pure model. She knew everything about horses. I grew to learn everything to do with horsing from my mother. She was the best teacher around. May Belle was a native tom boy. Her chestnut brown hair was cut short, just below her ears. Her usual uniform was a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. She was someone you could trust on. Mary Jane was a fashion freak. Her perfect strawberry blonde hair was straight and knotless, and eyes talked like jewels. Her slim torso was always covered with a sophisticated fashion that never matched the nature woods. She refused to do anything that would ruin her nails or her new skirt. I was your average school girl, blonde hair blue eyes, and a tall figure. I was always seen in a simple A&F style. John was big and strong, and he had a huge appetite. His hair was a mysterious shade of silver and brown. It was short, and it looked the best when his head was wet.

I woke up that day, on my sixteenth birthday. The sun was shining and the birds were chirping. May Belle and Mary Jane were off the college, I missed them so much. I assumed I would wake up and smell waffles. I took a deep breath, but I smelled nothing. There was a note next to my bed. It said: HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANNE MARIE, I LOVE YOU. LOVE DADDY. I smiled as my eyes traced the sloppy handwriting of my beloved father. There was a box next to it. I opened it carefully as my curious fingers traced the sides of the three dimensional object inside. It was big, but sort of flat. I opened it all the way and found a laptop computer. My hands explored the white Mac I had just received. I would have to ask him how to set it up. I always wanted my own; I hated sharing the family computer. I ran downstairs expecting my family members sipping coffee or eating breakfast in the kitchen. But the only person there was John.

“Happy Birthday, Anne Marie.” He said quietly, as he handed me a small box. “It’s from mom. I haven’t gotten you anything yet.” Looking guilty, he put the velvety box in my small pale hand.

“It’s okay, you don’t have to.” I assured as I hugged him thank you. “Where is everybody? It’s so quiet.” I said.

His expression turned gloomy, and he said in a small voice, “Mom and Dad had another fight this morning. They stormed out of the house. Both of their cars are gone.”

I looked around in the kitchen. Mom’s lifetime treasure chinaware collection was shattered to tiny bits all over the floor. It was the only one that had survived other fights. I noticed that my dad’s favorite mug was on the floor in pieces, barely recognizable. Tears began to form in my eyes. I put mom’s gift on the counter, my hand shaking. I wiped my teardrops away quickly with the palm of my hand as I grabbed the broom and started sweeping. It didn’t feel like my birthday anymore.

Fights came and went around. Arguments boomed through the walls late at night. I head crashes and yelling downstairs, early in the morning. I came home from school and found my mom crying. Sometimes dad wouldn’t come home for weeks. He would call my phone when I was driving to school in the morning, checking on me. John left home to live with grandma, he was so upset. I rarely saw my parents together anymore. I felt like things needed to change. I didn’t know a change was actually going to happen, though.

One day I found my mom and dad both at home when I walked through the doors. There was a white piece of paper they were both staring at. They sat at the counter, leaving an empty seat between them. They were screaming at each other. Nobody noticed that I came home. I snuck upstairs to my room, needing alone time.

“Sign the stupid contract, Janet!” My father was yelling in his booming voice.

“Do you have any idea of how our children would feel?!” My mother screeched.

“If you’re not gonna sign the paper I’m gonna need a lot more chinaware collections to break to pathetic pieces.” My father said.

My mother was shocked. “You know I loved them.” Her voice was shaking.

“Yes, I did. But you know I loved that old mug cup the kids gave me for my birthday.” He said back. His voice was fierce.

“I’m sorry.” My mother whispered in a gentle voice.

“Then sign the contract.” My father said harshly.

I had heard enough of the conversation. I picked up my phone and called my siblings. We got together, for the first time in a long time. May Belle brought up an idea. We all agreed to it, and hugged. Misty eyed, we said good bye. I was the only one who went home. The others went back to their own lives.

“May Belle, Mary Jane, Anne Marie, and John; Janet and I have called you here to share news with you. We are getting divorced.” My father said.

My mother, nodded with sad eyes. We each hugged mom and dad. Then May Belle the mastermind gave mom and dad the packages.

“Open them. They’re from us.” She said proudly, through her tears.

“I didn’t know people got presents when they divorce.” Dad said through his teeth to nobody in particular.

Dad ripped open the box and found his mug. It was brand new, of course, but it was the same one we had gotten for him. Mom carefully opened hers and found a beautiful chinaware collection. It was brand new, and it was the same one dad had gotten her many Christmases before.

Teary eyed, Mom took a deep breath and said, “Matt, I think our children are trying to tell us something.”



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