The Contrast

I wrote these two short stories back in 09, I have not edited them since. I wasn’t that great of a writer then, but I hope you enjoy them anyway.

“The Churches Bowls”

I strolled down yet another aisle lined with conveyer belts and topped with hundreds of identical bowls, all frisbee-sized, dark brown and, frankly, boring.

“Why did my school choose to come here?” I wondered as I drug my feet.

“Here is where all the bowls are shaped. As you can see, we try to make them all the same size and depth. This is the way they have to look, otherwise they’re are useless,” the tour guide said pleasantly as if this were the most wonderful place on earth, all smiles, happy to see everyone.

Suddenly, my eyes were drawn to one of the bowls slowly working its way toward me. It was oddly shaped, lower on one side and dented, and it was a different color than the others – a wonderful, deep sea green. I smiled; finally something that wasn’t molded and conformed and boring! It was unorthodox, but at the same time, quite pleasing to the eye. I reached out and picked it up, running my fingers around its outer edge. Rough. But the more I rubbed it, the smoother it became.

“See, “ I whispered, “you just needed a little work.” Suddenly the tour guide was next to me, looking horrified.

“What is this?!” he said coldly, holding out his hand. I clutched it to my chest.

“It’s a– bowl,” I replied slowly.

“No, it’s imperfect! Give it to me! I must throw it out immediately! Being different isn’t allowed here!” His face was contorted with rage and his outstretched hand shook. He wasn’t happy to see me anymore; now he was bent on destroying the only beautiful thing in the room. But I didn’t want a fight, so I slowly handed over my bowl. The man snatched it from me and threw it in the nearby furnace with a loud “clunk”.

“There, “ he said, smile returning. “that is how you deal with the unorthodox.”  I watched as the fire engulfed my bowl.

“What happened to pottery being handmade and individual?” I said, instantly regretting my words.

“That’s not how we do things here, young lady! They must all conform to the rules!” I kept my mouth shut for the rest of the day.

“So much for beauty and uniqueness,” I mumbled.

“The Maker of Beauty”

I stood in awe of the rows and rows of beautiful pottery; bowls and plates and cups. The list was endless. Each one hand crafted to be unique and gorgeous in their own way. I heard gentle sound coming from the back and went to investigate. When I rounded the corner, I saw the artist who had made all of these. He was humming softly, sitting at a desk fixing a bowl that had a large crack in its edge.

“Umm, hi. Am I interrupting you?” I said shyly.

“No! Come on in. You are welcome to join me; I’m in the midst of healing this one. “ He nodded at the bowl on the table.

“Healing? Don’t you mean mending?”

“No, healing. Care to watch?” I shrugged and sat down next to him.

“How did it get broken?,” I asked after awhile.

“Oh, it’s not broken, it just needed a little help from it’s maker.” I raised my eyebrow.

“Okay, so what happened to it?” I asked, feeling that he had missed the point.

“The past is the past my dear! All that matters is that it is with me again! I had missed this one.” He gently stroked it with his thumb as he reformed it. I blinked. This guy was weird! Why did he care so much? It was  just one bowl!

“Oh…. So, um, where do you get the inspiration to make all these?,” I asked, motioning to the shelves. He smiled widely. He looked somewhat insane.

“Each one is a work of art, made to please me. Each has a purpose that is unique to just it and each is pleasing to me in a different way.”

“Wow, “ I said, gazing at the walls; a lot of the pieces that were there looked very odd. What use did they have?

“What is that one’s use?” I asked, pointing to a particularly disfigured piece. He chuckled kindly.

“You wouldn’t understand if I told you, my dear. It is beyond you.” I looked at his kind face in wonder. “Now this, “ I thought to myself, “is unique.”


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