I wanted that plate. Lifting it up, I held it in my hands. Then, opening up my fingers, I let it drop. It fell with a sharp crash and smashed into three chunks… My mother recognized my handiwork. She cried for hours. I hadn’t seen her so upset since my father left.
How much significance can an object hold? In an essay published in the New Yorker, Gabrielle Selz illustrates how a single plate came to represent her parents’ marriage, her mother’s heartbreak, an act of childhood destruction, and the passage of time.
“Even broken, I still love it,” my mother said. That was how it went with my parents for the next thirty years. Through my father’s four subsequent marriages and my mother’s many boyfriends, my parents continued to break up and reunite. My mother once told me that a mutual passion for art kept pulling them together. I think it was their yearning to mend what had been ruptured.