The boomerang dish
Whenever she thought of her death, which she did often, she’d look around her beautiful room full of beautiful possessions and worry about the things she had loved and would be leaving behind. She’d wonder who in her family — not her siblings, unless she met an untimely death — but maybe her only nephew — would have the onerous task of dispatching her belongings. Would they care for them as much as she had? Not knowing the stories and the secrets they held, how would someone decide, be judge and jury, sentencing the accumulation of her life to this box or the other: ‘Charity Shop’? ‘Tip’? ‘Sell’? ‘Keep!’
She turned the dusty boomerang-shaped dish over in her hands: cold and smooth, decorated with a dull squiggling brush pattern. She’d never really loved it, it was a more of a keepsake. The hand painted abstract pattern hinted 1950s, the colours dull and muddy, not vibrant and scintillating or grey and architectural — something in between that left her feeling nothing at all. The plate was shaped like a boomerang. An Australian connection. She remembered that once it had meant something to her, but she wasn’t quite sure what or why. In it’s curved arms, where maybe once, in the 1960s, nuts or olives would fashionably nestle, sat a dried out conker that her lover had given her in a romantic gesture, and a brass turnkey that you might use for bleeding radiators. Items that would only ever mean something to her. She imagined her nephew, the grim task ahead of him, baffled by the shrivelled conker, tossing it into the box ominously marked ‘Tip’. She gazed at the bowl trying to remember what significance it bore her. Maybe Monica had given it to her on her return from Australia, she thought? Maybe she had kept it because she loved Monica, and although she wasn’t fond of the bowl, she’d imagined her friend on holiday in Sydney, finding it in a gift shop and, thinking of her, bringing it back — a cute momento. A china boomerang! How very Australian!
Turning it upside down for the first time ever, she was bemused to see the underneath was painted bright yellow. Rather than a boomerang, from upside down it looked like a badly drawn banana. Words stamped into the bottom of the plate: Crinkle Sandland Ware, Lancaster and Sandland Ltd, Hanley, Lancashire, England. To her surprise, after twenty years, it dawned on her that the ugly boomerang dish that she’d never cared for wasn’t an affectionate reminder of a trip to Australia from a dear friend after all. Then where the hell had it come from? She had no idea. Carefully she wiped the thick layer of dust from its gently curving squiggle-marked top, and threw it in the bin with relief. That will save someone the trouble, she thought.