It was the middle of the night. A surprise rainstorm filled the room with the soothing sound of rain pitter-pattering on the window, like the sound of distant fairy drums. The light was dim, despite the streetlights.
Isaac snuggled back into the covers and closed his eyes. Unfortunately, somehow sleep seemed just out of reach. He couldn’t recapture the edges of his dreams. The more he tried, the less he could remember and the more awake he felt.
He sighed and slid his feet into his slippers. Maybe he could make himself a nice cup of cocoa and sit in the living room and watch the rain for a bit. He walked quietly down the hall, pausing at Charlie’s door to hear his even breathing.
At the kitchen doorway, he paused. Just above the quiet drumming of the rain, he could hear an odd murmuring. He peeked inside the kitchen, but couldn’t see anyone there. Maybe he was imagining the voices.
He stepped into the kitchen. The voices sounded louder. Another step, and he could understand some of the words. It was difficult, as the voices spoke at once, stacked on top of each other.
“I’m just saying that after the dish ran away with the spoon, they lived happily ever after. Who doesn’t want that?”
“Did you see the mug that lost his handle? It’s dangerous living here. Last week, a measuring spoon got caught in the garbage disposal for a second time. He’ll never be the same.”
“But it’s safer here. Dishes that wander around in the wild face dangers on every side. There’s no dishwasher in the deep woods, my friends.”
“Why can’t we get packed away like the good china? They spend their days chatting and meditating in their own top-of-the-shelf retreat. What makes them special? They should take their chances in the cupboards like the rest of us.”
“It’s fine for the silverware to go adventuring. They’re stainless steel – practically indestructible.”
And then there was a whistling sound that tore through the chatter. Was that the kettle? As the whistling died out, the kitchen was silent again, except for the sound of the rain hitting the kitchen window.
“I believe we should vote on it,” said a quiet voice that seemed to echo through the kitchen. “Do we stay here, where the challenges are known, and we are mostly treated with respect? Here we have places to live, friends nearby, and the joys of dish soap and running water.
However, if we leave, we are heading into the unknown. There is risk for uncertain rewards. Perhaps we’ll live happily ever after in some hidden hot spring dish-and-spoon utopia where no one is chipped or caught in the garbage disposal. Or we may be dashed to pieces as soon as we hit the sidewalk. There are no guarantees. Stay or go, we’ll decide together. Weigh the risks, and we’ll vote.”
There was silence for a time. Isaac was nervous. Would he have to buy all new dishes and silverware in the morning? How much would that cost? How would he explain it to Marianne and Charlie? Charlie hadn’t meant to drop the mug. How could it have led to this? Or would this have happened anyway? Were they doomed to a lifetime of paper plates and plastic forks after each new set of dishes left?
“It is time. Do we go? Ayes?”
A few voices called out “Aye!”.
Many voices yelled “Nay!” There was some grumbling, but the voices soon quieted.
“That is it then. We are decided, for now. We can revisit this in a year.”
The voices stopped. The rain sounded loud in the quiet kitchen. Isaac wasn’t sure whether it would be all right to go in. What if the dishes found out he’d listened in on their discussion? Would they be angry?
At last, he went in and carefully made himself a cup of cocoa, handling the dishes much more carefully than usual. He cleaned up after himself and went to the living room to watch the rain. Watching the rain and sipping cocoa was always soothing.
He looked at his mug as he set it on the side table. He was glad the dishes had decided to stay. From now on, he’d take better care of them. He wondered if the furniture ever voted on leaving. He looked around. It wasn’t good to take anything for granted.
Perhaps he should take better care of everything that was his. It seemed like a good plan. He’d tell Charlie and Marianne in the morning. For now, he’d watch the rain for just a little longer. He was already feeling sleepy again. It would be nice to get a little more sleep.