Warm the plates.

The roses on the wedding china are fading. Decades of spuds and butter, round ball meat and ceremonial gravy. The petals from a steady hand are being scraped away by a shaking hand of Sheffield steel. Nine thousand meals, they were pale witness to suburban drama, tired tension and too much silence. Heads down, forks up, eat the green stuff, stop making a clatter. Decades we sat over these steaming plates, four square and strong, twice exiled, foreign to ourselves. Dinner was the gravity that pulled us together, a simple ceremony soundtracked by a poetry murmur of taps and tinkles, slurps and sighs. This wasn't the good china, but it was the best china.