It's thirty minutes until the dinner guests arrive, and all is going according to schedule. I have just retrieved some napkins from the drawer in the china cabinet when I hear the sound. It starts as a low groan with some light tinkling of glass. I've heard this before. It's the sound of disaster in it's initial stages. Before I can react it has built into a crescendo with crashing wine glasses and other bric-a-brac tumbling out of the china cabinet, and onto the floor. It seems that when I closed the drawer, one of Mark's platters that he had artfully displayed on the top shelf, started slowly sliding forward pushing all that was before it off the edge. In one final loud crash the large platter itself hits the ground. This is followed by a low wail coming from the kitchen that also builds until it becomes a loud shriek. I look up, and there is Mark standing in the doorway his face contorted in anguish, mixed with loathing for me and my clumsy ways.
All around our home is the evidence of my knack for knocking things over. Most especially the wine glasses. There is not one set of four matching wine glasses in the entire house. I freely admit to my destructive ways, but this time was different. This calamity was Mark's fault. It was purely his clutter, his way of trying to fit every purchase he has made onto the tiniest of spaces. All I did was close the drawer, and gently I might add, when the platter Mark had carefully balanced on the top shelf was nudged off center. Despite the fact that I knew I was in the right, I was too terrified to challenge him on that point. I had looked into that face of rage, and hatred. If at that time I had suggested it was Mark's fault in any way, I would have unleashed a hellish reaction that could have ruined the entire evening. I let it go, and cleaned up the mess.
We had a lovely dinner party. Mark was pleasant, I was happy, and the guests had no idea of the disaster that had preceded their visit by only a few minutes. As we all sat there drinking our wine out of mismatched glasses, I started thinking. I should try this keeping my mouth shut thing more often.