Thursday, July 11, 2013

The Chipped Cup, a vignette

The Chipped Cup

Robbie kept his marbles in a chipped cup. There were aggies and cat's eyes but what he loved most were the deep, clear blues and greens. Robbie never chanced losing those in schoolyard rings.

He would look at them in the evenings, before bedtime, holding them up to the light, imagining them as realms of distant space, the little bubbles, planets swimming through the light of unknown stars. Then, they would return to their cup, with its chipped edge, one darkened seam tracking through the pink and yellow roses.

Some nameless Japanese craftsman had painted them, back before the war, and there had been a complete set. All lost or broken now, as was the world from which they came. Robbie' grandfather had fought in that war and it was always The War in their house, despite those since.

Robbie's father had missed those other wars, too young for Korea, finishing his stint in the air force before Vietnam heated up. Only the Cold War for him, long boring flights over the Atlantic where submarines played hide and seek in waters deeper and clearer than any glass marble.

He had kept his pocket change in the cup for a while, before his wife decided it was too shabby to be sitting out. So it became Robbie's.

Someday, he would outgrow marbles and then perhaps Robbie would put his own pocket change into the cracked cup. Or paperclips or guitar picks or anything else one might think of. Then again, old china cups have a way of meeting with the floor eventually, especially when in the care of ten-year-olds.

But, for now, Robbie kept his marbles in the chipped cup.

Stephen Brooke ©2013

I refer to this as a 'vignette' rather than a short story, in that there is no plot. Thought that doesn't seem to bother many short story writers! ;) As with most of what I post here, it is early-draft work and certainly subject to change. Perhaps substantial change.

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