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LAce Posted Monday, June 20th, 2005
Utensil Tragedy
Judy Cabito

Act one: she counted utensils.

She started months ago when she found one missing. She counted them again…and then again and again. From then on, after they were washed and dried, she counted them and put them in their place. She counted them so often it became a habit. Originally there were eight of each: spoons, forks and knives, sharp ones, but now there were only seven.

She asked him, “Have you seen the missing knife?”

“What knife? What are you talking about?”

“One of them is missing.”

“How do you know?”

“There were eight and now there are seven. Do you know what happened?”

He said he didn’t and she should forget it; they were cheap anyway.

That made her sad. They were wedding presents from her auntie and uncle; they couldn’t afford a lot; it was the thought that counts and besides they used them everyday, it wasn’t like they had others.

“Maybe,” she said during dinner one night, “I dropped it behind the stove.”

“What are you talking about? Do you live on the moon or something? Do you have anything in that empty head of yours? Why are you still breathing?”

“I was talking about the knife, the missing one…sorry.”

“Get off it; they’re goddamned ugly and cheap. Good riddance.”

She tried to let it ride but she kept on counting them, day after day, week after week, month after month. This morning she counted them…seven knives, seven very sharp knives.

Nothing had changed.

Act two: they were still in their place, waiting to be useful, waiting to be counted, waiting for her.

Comments [post a comment]

Posted by Sharon Hurlbut on Tuesday, June 21st, 2005 at 2:11 AM
Oh, this piece gave me chills (and I mean that in a good way). The writing is as sharp as those knives.

Posted by Patricia Parkinson on Tuesday, June 21st, 2005 at 2:37 AM
JUDY!!!! How wonderful!!! Nicely done, so glad to see you here..xoxoxoxoxo I'm missing a knife, it drives me wild, wild I tell you,thanks Judy..xoxoxo I want to read more and see if she stabs him with the missing eighth knife...xo

Posted by Elizabeth Crabtree on Tuesday, June 21st, 2005 at 5:15 AM
There was a lot shown in this piece without your actually telling us. The guy took her for granted, he was thoughtless and insensitive, he didn't respect her or really care about her or what she did, said, or thought. She felt purposeless, bored, sad. She was sensitive and caring. The void in her life turned to obsession, compulsion. I loved it!

Posted by Elaine Little on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005 at 9:06 AM
I agree with all of you. 1- The writing is beautiful 2- It implies so much more than it says 3- She is sensitive and kind 4- The man is insesitive and cold 5 - Her void place becomes her obsession BUT - Why is it so unthinkable to question that she might have OCD, she might need to get a job or more of a life, or that she just possibly might be INSANE? But I loved the story. Congrats, Judy!

Posted by Miriam Kotzin on Wednesday, June 22nd, 2005 at 2:54 PM
"...Why are you still breathing?" Such animosity--and foreshadowing? Brava!

Posted by Anna McDougall on Monday, June 27th, 2005 at 1:17 PM
Wonderful piece Judy.

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