The Dish

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For the past 16 days, there has been a dish in the kitchen sink.

It’s not a terribly interesting thing to mention, I suppose. But I keep a clean house and so it sits there, mockingly.

I am, despite my flaws, what they used to refer to in the old days as a ‘good woman’. And I am! But then there’s that dish again.

It’s not large, or fancy, or unique, or even terribly dirty. There are seven others, just like it, in the pantry, and they have all been used, at some point or another in the past two weeks plus that it has been sitting there. It has zero sentimental value. But I avoid it, as I scrub my morning coffee cup, or set the omelet pan to soak, or reclaim the forks with the dried-on bits of egg for lunchtime usage.

Nobody touches the dish, as beer steins are rinsed, or the ladle is soaped up or the spatula is made ready for another day.

And I have come to the conclusion that time has stopped around the dish, for it is set in perfect balance, at odds with an equally immovable nugget of the universe. For in the past 16 days, all speaking has ceased between my husband and me.

No one knows who’ll blink first. No one speaks until the dish is washed, and nobody washes the dish until somebody breaks down and talks. 

It’s almost midnight. In less than 2 minutes, for the past 17 days, there will have been a dish in the kitchen sink.

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