Sign of the Times-0772

Image by Christine Renney

In the evenings, after he has finished the washing up, he rinses the tea tray. He holds it under the tap and, watching the water sluice, he moves it this way and that.
There is a label still stuck on the underside. A barcode, perhaps, or possibly the price tag but it is impossible now to tell. And although he has picked at it a little over the years he hasn’t ever taken the time to scrub at it properly and so, although unreadable, it has survived.
He holds the tea tray flat and, letting the water cascade, he notices the pattern has faded, that the colours once bright are now muted and dull. He holds the tray up to the light coming from the window above the sink and pictures himself sitting with it on his lap, in front of the television.
Holding the tea tray flat again, and in front of himself, he steps backward. He wants to drop it, to let it fall and clatter onto the floor so that he can step on it or kick it aside. But he can’t; he is gripping it too tightly and stepping back up to the sink he holds it under the tap and, watching the water, he tries to let go.


11 thoughts on “TEA TRAY

  1. chrisnelson61 September 25, 2015 / 9:37 pm

    I really like the sytmbolism in this piece, Mark. And, of course, it is very true, for would any of us willingly let go of our ‘safety blanket’?

    • markrenney1 September 26, 2015 / 7:57 pm

      I struggled with this one for a while Chris, but eventually it kind of fell into place, and I think you are right – we don’t want to let go. Thanks and regards, Mark.

  2. john flanagan September 26, 2015 / 1:39 am

    this is fine indeed

    best wishes


    • markrenney1 September 26, 2015 / 7:58 pm

      Thank you so much, John.

  3. Tony Single September 27, 2015 / 11:52 pm

    I’ve lived this very scenario. I wonder how many of us have? 😛 Of course, the underlying theme isn’t lost on me either. 😉

    • markrenney1 September 28, 2015 / 4:27 pm

      Thanks Tony. Yes I suspect that most of us who are over forty can relate.

  4. egbertstarr September 28, 2015 / 10:14 am

    Thumbs up. Everything. Except the last phrase, “he tries to let go.” If half the time I deleted the last line of my own pieces, they’d be stronger. There’s that almost irresistible temptation to do the reader’s job for them..

    • markrenney1 September 28, 2015 / 4:32 pm

      Thanks. Yes.I know what you mean it’s that old rule of show but don’t tell.

      • egbertstarr September 28, 2015 / 7:02 pm

        So it goes. Glad you took it that way, phew. I had a collection of 50 stories once and ruined almost every single one of them with the two lines! Just got out the jack hammer and blasted them off. No big deal.

  5. megdekorne October 20, 2015 / 1:51 am

    Now I can’t stop reading …all of your work holds the deep truth of our emotions …it is truly beautiful writing …with admiration and gratefulness , megxxx

    • markrenney1 October 20, 2015 / 4:08 pm

      Thank you Meg so much, that’s such a lovely thing to say.

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