Jennifer Shneiderman ~ Trouble

I know there will be trou­ble. I don’t want the sil­ver fin­ger bowls. I want the gold Limoges plates. The gold paint will flake off with use. But they are exquis­ite and I will love them and use them and they will nev­er see the inside of a dish­wash­er. I will always think of my Mema and her West Hollywood antique store when I serve cake on those plates. I would nev­er use the fin­ger bowls and Aunt Carolyn knows it. My moth­er is a house­wife, so Aunt Carolyn thinks she’s use­less. So she’s try­ing to give me some­thing use­less. I’m not a house­wife, but I’m guilty and use­less by association.

The antique auc­tion com­pa­ny guy has arrived and every­one will soon head to the funer­al home to make final arrange­ments. I have to hur­ry before the gold plates disappear.

I’d rather have the plates,” I say. “I think I’d get more use out of them.”

Aunt Carolyn throws up her hands. “She sounds like a pay­ing customer.”

My moth­er and my Aunt Alyce turn away and pre­tend to study the under­sides of vas­es and soup tureens. I pack the plates in news­pa­per and put them in a plas­tic bag. Aunt Carolyn says she is out of box­es, but I know that isn’t true.

I use Mema’s Limoges plates when­ev­er we enter­tain. The gold sparkles in the light and ele­vates the most mun­dane desserts. Every sum­mer, I enjoy tak­ing them to the Hollywood Bowl, wrap­ping them in lay­ers of ter­rycloth tow­els for the treach­er­ous trek up the Hollywood Hills. Several pre-con­cert pic­nick­ers always stop by to admire the ele­gant place set­tings, and won­der at the sight of some­one who goes to so much trouble.


Jennifer Shneiderman is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker liv­ing in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in many pub­li­ca­tions, includ­ing: The Perch, The Rubbertop Review, and Flash Fiction Magazine.