Jack stood still. Kia ran in hearing the echo of something fallen.
Kia screamed “Nooo! Do you realize the gravity of the situation? It is just a vase to you, but to our boss, it’s an antique, priceless Jack. It now costs our job” she lowered her tone
She assumed it was his fault for the once so beautiful vase that decorated the hall way of her boss’s old fashioned yet majestic mansion, is now lying on the Italian white marble floor shattered in to two pieces. Jack would definitely be fired and probably, she. Jack had started only two months ago, but she was here for close to 10 years. She knew her boss’s reaction well.
It is hard for the eye to miss the huge ceramic blue vase painted with a traditional beautiful Chinese lady mounted on an old polished wooden dresser. The vase would attract every eye and soon became a conversation starter. Everyone praised the beauty of the way the Chinese lady dressed in cream robe with green floral printed , smiled. For, while the sapphire blue color of the vase caught every eye’s attention, on a closer inspection, one appreciates the shyness of the lady depicted with her eyes closed behind the handheld fan. And how long the crow of eye had been drawn to depict the genuine smile which is hidden behind the fan. If the guests were artist, they would speak about the eyes, feminists would speak about women hiding the scars behind the fan, kids would touch to feel the embossed fan, workers would just pass by , probably not giving a dam about it. But only our boss, Michelle would sometimes clean it with a cloth and a spray. She wouldn’t allow any of the workers to clean it even if dust lay on it, which is rare in this mansion. The vase wouldn’t collect much dust, probably because it was in the middle of the hallway that had no windows. Guests would walk in, some would stand for a while, talk about it, some would just compliment and leave it at peace. Had the lady had soul, she would have grown tired from hearing the same old compliments.
But now with the neck of the vase detached from its body, the face of the beautiful lady was scarred.
Michelle came in from her morning walk. She collected the small piece and asked Jack to pick up the bigger piece. They followed her quietly in confusion. Michelle was not a bad boss, but if something went wrong with her antique collections, they were fired with their recent wages cut off. Though this happened only once. Once was enough to scare the rest.
Michelle lay the piece on the table of her studio and Jack placed the other part. All the antiques of the house are first brought here. They would be here for a while, till Michelle decided which part of the house it would decorate. Some antiques would be rearranged withing the house and some sold. But this vase had a different story. It was brought here 27 years ago, among the first few antique and now it lay here again, broken.
Michelle sat on the stool and looked at it. “We are sorry Michelle” Kia apologized. She looked at Jack. “So you broke it?” she questioned.
“Yes” Jack replied. He did not give any excuse.
Silence filled the room for a while and Jack spoke “The eyes had always made me wondered. Everyone spoke of it as if it were a stroke of brush. But to me, it looked more like a crack.”
Michelle laughed. It sounded genuine but it got me confusing. Was she being sarcastic? Do I, her personal secretary, not know her now? I knew what made her upset, her laugh or her every emotion. But I did not know this laugh. I couldn’t categorize it.
“You have a good eye Jack. It was already broken when I brought it here.I always found the crack obvious. It’s previous owner glued it well and it was a secret we both shared. So many curators and artist failed to realize the lucid crack. Whether they were blind to it or were aware of it and didn’t want to offend me so that they could move on with their purpose of visit, I don’t know. But it’s time to move the vase”