I woke up startled, sitting upright so fast that I became dizzy. It was just a dream…
I saw them all, it seemed so real…I blinked a few times and looked for the telephone. I dialed the number from memory, rotating the dial expertly like I had so many times before…
"Hello?" The voice said cheerily. There was a lump in my throat…I couldn’t speak.
"Hello…?" It repeated.
"Mmm…Mrs. Gallagher?" I sputtered out.
"Charlotte? Charlotte dear is that you? Its been three years, what on earth?" She exclaimed.
"I’m…sorry to bother you. I just remembered something," I said.
"I’m so happy to hear your voice. I’ve missed you terribly. What did you remember, dear?"
"I forgot…to give you the ring back. It really belongs to you….and…"
"Oh…Charlotte," she said softly, "Allen gave that to you. He wanted you to have it, to wear it…"
"But," I said, "I can’t exactly wear it can I?"
The other line went silent.
"I suppose so…"
"I’ll send it to you," I said, and hung up.
My grief was now replaced with anger. I grabbed my empty teacup, my mother’s favorite china pattern, and threw it as hard as I could. It smashed against the wall, spraying little floral china pieces everywhere. And I sat there and glared at the little fragments and wondered what my mother would have said.
And then I remembered what she did say, and I went to her china cabinet and opened it up and stared at it. Perfect, hand painted, precious china that she only brought out for special occassions. It seemed like a stupid idea to me my entire life.
I remember her taking me to the large department store uptown, trying to convince me to pick out a pattern for Allen and I. But I didn’t want any china. And she told me that we would need it, but I just couldn’t comprehend why anyone would want to buy dishes they would only use once a year.
And after I thought of that, I pulled out a dish, opened the dining room window, and threw it, not caring if it hit the neighbors house or not.
By the time I was done remembering everything, I had run out of things in the cabinet to break. I considered breaking the china cabinet too, but it was too heavy, and I didn’t want to take an ax to it, so it got to live to see another day.
I think I finally snapped.
Why had I spent so much time grieving? Why had I never spoken up in my entire life until it was too late? Why hadn’t I done the things I wanted to do instead of settling for a pre-decided destiny that someone else thought was the way things should be?
I now was happy that I never had to get married in that country club, and move into a house with stupid cabinets full of dishes with little pink roses on them that I had to stare at every single day but never use…
I’m free. I didn’t realize it until now…but there was nobody to tell me no anymore.
...but what does one do with it when they realize it?