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Mistake

Caitlin Duerinck, 2011

        Sophie sat alone at the pottery wheel, working the turntable with her foot as her hands gently formed the walls of a large water jug. John entered the studio and examined the floor. It was dirty, stained by the natural colorants of spilled clay and years of compacted dust.

        “I’m sorry. It was a mistake. It didn’t mean anything.”

        The wheel spun faster and faster, kicking up muddy sludge as the pot in her hands collapsed. It was unusable. Unstable. Just another mistake to be tossed aside and dealt with later.

        “It fell apart.”

        “I’m sorry.”

        “I know,” Sophie scrapped at the slippery mess, “ But you can’t fix it when it falls apart.”

        John reached over her and hefted the clay into his arms, struggling with the slick grit. He slammed it onto a plaster table and started to knead to clay. The table rocked as the excess water and air bubbles were worked out of it, transforming the clay into a tame, spherical mass.

        “You can start over.”

        “A pot made with reworked clay is never as good as the memory of the first one.”

        “You could try.”

        “Maybe.” Sophie stood, walked over to the clay waste bucket and looked inside. Still, murky brown water stared back. “I’m not sure I want to.”

        She scooped up a hand of disintegrated clay slop, letting it plop through her fingers. Rings spiraled outwards and distorted the surface.

        “I don’t want second place.”

        “I’m sorry.”

        “You said that already. Why do you keep saying that? It doesn’t make it better.”

        “I don’t know what else to say. Tell me what to say to make this better. Tell me what you want.”

        Sophie turned.

        “I don’t want you to say anything.”

        “It was meaningless, you know. It didn’t mean anything.”

        “It never does to you.”

        “That was unfair.”

        Dust swirled in the air as the distant sound of bells resonated through the ceramic studio.

        “I’m sorry.” Sophie cocked her head, rubbing her hands against the gritty edge of the bucket. “Now you’ve got me apologizing.”

        John rolled the prepared clay a final time, than placed the moist ball into Sophie’s hands.

        “ So what do we do?”

        Sophie placed the clay on the wheel, kicking the turntable gently to set it in motion as she wet her hands with water.

        “Make something new.”


 
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All Information Copywright by Chimes Publication, Saint Mary's College 2010