She saw it coming out of the corner of her eye and ducked. His aim and delivery was predictable. A grunt preceded the windup. He bellowed as the tin plate went sailing across the kitchen. It bounced off the kitchen cupboards and clattered to the floor spilling food along its entire path. It was easier to just stand there and wait. He punched her less and it was over sooner if he didn’t have to chase her.
Your food is tasteless enough, he shouted. Why do I have to eat this crap off of bent metal saucers? You are the lousiest thing that has ever happened to me. The least you could do is cook decent food.
All the breakable dishes are gone, she quietly said.
He grabbed her arm hard and pulled her close enough to slap her twice hard across the face. Clean up this mess bitch. I’m going out to get me some supper. This place better be spotless when I get back.
It was always the same. It didn’t matter what she cooked, how she cooked it or what she served it on, he found fault, no matter what.
She was still a young women. They had only been married for nine years. Looking at the life that stretched ahead of her was unbearable. What had happened to him to make him turn so mean?
He came home late. Drunk. There is a box out in the wagon for you. I brought you something. Go get it, he slurred.
She didn’t need to go get it to know what it was. She put on her shawl and went out into the dark night. In the back of the wagon was a small box. It was heavy for a small package and clinked a little when she picked it up. She came inside and placed the box on the kitchen table and went to back to the book she was reading.
You didn’t open what I brought you. Open the box, damn it! I’m trying to be nice to you.
She got back up and went into the kitchen for a knife. She held it steady for a moment, grasped tightly in the palm of her hand. The twine around the box sliced instantly with the slightest pull of the sharp knife. Inside was a set of glazed clay dishes, four each of dinner plates, side plates and bowls. How many sets of new dishes had he brought home by now? She had lost count. The rubbish heap out back glittered with a colorful sea of shards.
Now maybe you can try and cook a decent supper for a change. I bought you some good dishes to use.
This was the last box of new dishes she was going to put up with. It was time to put an end to this. I’m going to bed, she said, not much louder than a whisper. Goodnight.