Broken

The vase is broken. That much is clear. Pieces are scattered across the dining room floor.

But nobody’s confessing to nothing.

Dad says, “I just want to know how the vase was broken.” He’s got a piece of the vase in his hands. He keeps walking back and forth, looking at the vase and looking at us. He’s trying to catch us with his eyes. “Somebody broke the vase.”

But I know it wasn’t me. Because I followed all the rules. I didn’t run in the house. I didn’t throw the ball in the house. Mostly, I spend my time reading books in my room — like my parents told me to do. Just like I eat my vegetables at dinner and brush my teeth at night. I’ve been doing what I’m supposed to do.

I didn’t break the vase.

“We’re just trying to get to the bottom of things.” Mom says, “Are you sure it wasn’t you?”

“Nuh-uh,” I say.

“So, where were you this afternoon, when it happened?” asks Dad.

“I was down at Pfizer Park, with Jane. You told us we should go outside and play, remember?” I can’t believe they’re coming down on me and my sister.

I want to complain and ask: Why don’t you check with Johnny and Jimmy?!? Because they didn’t come to the park with us. They said they wanted to play at home, instead. And they’re not usually all that careful, neither. But I’m not about to rat on my brothers. I’m good at following that rule, too. But c’mon! It’s obvious. I mean, they’re standing right there, with guilty looks on their faces and baseball mitts on their hands.

“Hmm… Well, none of you admit to knowing anything about the broken vase. So… I suppose we’re going to have to punish you all.” Dad says with a serious look on his face. “Unless one of you is ready to come forward, you’re all grounded for a month: no playdates, no sleepovers, no Friday night pizza parties. You’re all grounded.”

Johnny and Jimmy keep their mouths shut. But I can’t believe it. It just doesn’t seem fair.

“You can, however, keep your phone privileges for now,” Dad smiles. “That way you can FaceTime or Zoom with your friends, whenever you want to.”

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