Of Broken Plates and Short Attention Spans

Of Broken Plates and Short Attention Spans

A Story by Abigail T

Greg deals with his little brother's hyperactivity.


            I look down at the shattered plate on the kitchen floor. My first thought was to yell at Eli, and remind him yet again that glass plates should not be tossed even if you’re absolutely positive you’re going to catch them. But I know getting upset with him will just cause more problems.  Plus, he’s ten. It seems a little pathetic for a sixteen-year-old to yell at a ten-year-old.  I don’t need a power trip. I just need him to not break the dishes I’m washing.

            “I didn’t mean to!” Eli whines before I can even say anything.

            I nod, still looking at what is left of the plate, “I know you didn’t.”

            He tries to take a step forward, but I whip my arm out in front of him, “Don’t go any further until I clean up the broken glass, okay?” He doesn’t say anything, so I look at him, “Okay?”

            He nods, tears beginning to form. “You hate me!”

            I sigh and tiptoe around the shards to get to the broom and dustpan in the opposite corner. “No, I don’t hate you, buddy.”

            “Yes you do! You hate me!” He begins to cry and runs into the living room. I hear him flop down onto the couch.

            “You know I don’t hate you,” I call, keeping my voice steady. I know from years of practice that showing any sign of frustration will just set him off even more.

            I crouch down to the kitchen floor and start sweeping the glass.  Luckily it didn’t drop from a long distance, so only a few pieces broke off.  I don’t have to worry about small slivers that are hard to see.

            Eli is still crying, so I throw away the broken pieces and walk into the living room. He’s lying face-first on the couch, burying his head and sobbing. I used to not be able to stand this.  I would call him a baby and taunt him until he ran into his room so I didn’t have to deal with him anymore.  We were both worse when we were younger.  At least now all he does is cry, instead of trying to punch dad or me. 

            I sit down next to him on the far side of the couch.  “Listen, Eli, I’m not mad, but�"”

            “But dad is gonna be mad! He’s gonna yell at me.” He yells into the couch cushion.

            “When has dad ever actually yelled at you for anything?” I ask, knowing full well that dad has never yelled at either of us.

            Eli shrugs, giving up on that argument.

            “When I’m doing the dishes, how about you help me dry instead of playing with them?” I offer.

            He finally turns over onto his back and looks at me, “I don’t want to do chores.” He stops crying, and now just seems bored with the conversation.  I see his eyes dart from me to the remote control for the TV in front of the couch.

            “Well, then you can keep me company. But don’t toss the dishes anymore, okay? I know you almost always catch them, but when you don’t, they break,” I explain, trying not to condescend.

            “Uh-huh,” he says as he gets up to reach the control.

            “Do you understand me, Eli?”


            I lean back into the couch and cross my arms, “Okay, then what did I say?”

            “You said that I can’t throw the plates even though I always catch them,” he says as he flicks on the TV.

            I smile. Good enough.

© 2011 Abigail T

Author's Note

Abigail T
This is the third and final scene involving Greg. This series of scenes is an assignment for my senior project.

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Added on October 24, 2011
Last Updated on October 24, 2011


Abigail T
Abigail T

Amherst, MA

My name is Abigail, and I'm a recent college graduate now in the world to write fiction for young adults. I'm using this site to archive my work. more..

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