Wreck the Hall with Antique Vases

Delta Winds cover 2008Delta Winds: A Magazine of Student Essays
A Publication of San Joaquin Delta College


Wreck the Hall with Antique Vases

Nina Peñalosa

At the wee age of four, I was blamed for a heinous act that I did not commit. It was Christmas Eve and I was in the living room playing with a baby Cabbage Patch Kid I had received earlier that night. My blue-eyed baby was cradled under one arm as I spun myself around in an orange chair. Visions of my older cousin, Cynthia, and sister, Nikki, blurred past my eyes with each spin I took. The two of them were playing catch with their dolls in the hallway. Once in a while, a thud could be heard as a poor little dolly hit the door. A display table containing many of Mama's fragile knick-knacks stood nearby their playing spot.

A medley of shattered glass silenced the entire household. Planting my feet on the ground, I looked into the hallway. Cynthia and Nikki were looking at each other wide-eyed with astonishment. Pieces of Mama's antique white and blue vases were scattered before their little feet. "What's going on?" we heard an adult ask from the family room.

"Go! Go!" said a panicked voice. I saw Cynthia and Nikki quickly run to the safety of Mama and Papa's room leaving me at the scene of the crime.

The adults that were socializing in the living room had peaked their heads into the opening of the hallway upon hearing the crash.

"What happened?" asked Cynthia and Nikki as they came out of hiding. I had just been been standing there, staring at the broken pieces of glass. All eyes were suddenly on me. I looked up and saw a sea of disgruntled faces, "Nina, what did you do?"

What did I do? I didn't do anything! Did they really think this was solely my fault? Before I knew it, Auntie Ashie was ushering me into the family room. Her nostrils flared as fear wrapped itself around me. She bent down to my level and I felt her bony fingers sink into my shoulders. "Why did you do that? You need to play more carefully! Those are Mama's vases. She can't replace them! Go apologize to her," she yelled. I looked into her brown eyes. They looked as if they were ablaze. Although the fire was underneath a shield of lenses, I feared the wrath that was Auntie Ashie from that moment on. She pushed me towards Mama. "Go ahead," she nudged. I could feel the waterworks waiting to erupt. My eyes burned as I tried to hold the tears in. A volcanic emission of salty magma began to flow down my face.

Mama stood before me with kind eyes. "Maybe I won't get in trouble," I thought to myself. Everything seemed fine for a second until Auntie Ashie scolded for me to say sorry. "I di-di-didn't do it," I said through a throbbing throat. Now, Auntie Ashie was yelling at me in Tagalog, which sounded ten times scarier than when she was screaming at me in English. I told Mama I was sorry, and she gave me a little hug. When Auntie Ashie finally finished verbally lashing me with her slick tongue, I ran straight to my mom and sobbed pathetically into her shoulder. I tried to tell her I didn't do it, but I don't think she believed me.

I sank into the comfort of the orange chair to find solace and cried some more in the dark. "You know I didn't do it," I confided in my doll.

Cynthia's older sisters, Christina and Celeste, came in the room and sat across me. "Do you want to color, Nina?" Celeste asked as she gestured a coloring book my way.

Before I could take it Christina sneered, "No, don't give it to her. She broke Mama's vases."

I swear, ever since I can remember Christina was such a discontented person, she was never nice to me-ever. "But I didn't do anything," I whispered. I thought about going into Christina's room and tearing down all of her New Kids on the Block pin-ups, but I was already in enough trouble, so I decided against the idea.

The guilty duo, Cynthia and Nikki, slowly walked into the darkened living room and joined Christina and Celeste. I didn't want them there. They let me take the blame for what they had done. The two of them didn't even look the slightest bit guilty, which only made me more furious. If there really were a Santa Claus, he'd strip them of their Cabbage Patch dolls and give them to little girls who were really nice. Then he'd reward Cynthia and Nikki with a lump of coal for their act of tomfoolery.

It wasn't until Christmas day that they admitted to breaking Mama's vases, but I don't remember them getting punished for it. If they did, I completely missed the chance to claim sweet victory. All is in the past now, and this memory is erased from most parties involved. Nonetheless, I'll never forget that Christmas Eve when Cynthia and Nikki wrecked the hall with (Mama's) antique vases.