I had a love once, a grand interplay of two beautiful souls, a delightful affair of tragic brevity. Oh I had a love once, and that love was for a teacup. On the first day of college I realized–like so many other students have always done and will always do until time decides to call it quits–that I didn’t own any dishes other than a pocket knife and a titanium spork. So, intrepid youth that I was, I laced up my shoes with their duct tape soles and fled the company of my roommate (whom I later learn was actually all of the stereotypically bad qualities of an only child given form.) I went to Target. It’s where all the cool kids were going. It was also where all the uncool kids, the kind of middling cool kids, and the lukewarm youths were going because it was the closest store to our side of campus. And there, in the fluorescent and pastel purgatory of the Target’s kitchen supply aisle, I saw it: a blue cup. Someone with a better understanding of color might have called it periwinkle.
We were together for 4 years, 4 years of bliss and tea and unadulterated joy and also it was the perfect size for one serving of ramen. But love is like Ikea furniture: difficult to build, satisfying while it lasts, and it begins to break the second you rely on it. My cup was my only dish that was always clean so I used it more than any other. I neglected my plates which were the approximate yellow of particularly poisonous frogs. I abandoned my bowls which were later co-opted by my cat as overlarge homes for her food and water. I left behind all dishes for my cup. And my cup, like a porcelain allegory for my dating history, broke to pieces rather than suffer another minute with me. Nobody was around, the cat was asleep, my cup fell off the counter and humpty dumptied itself out of my life.
Like any grieving lonely person, I turned to internet shopping to buy the pain away.
My first purchase was a tube of Krazy Glue because denial is hilariously named
and comes at the reasonable price of $7.06 with free 2 day shipping. I remember playing the Dr. Frankenstein to my shattered cup’s mismatched parts chipped and chaotic and irrevocable. I certainly didn’t cry because I was an adult, and adults certainly don’t shed tears of broken cups–even if that cup was fucking important. I had all the jagged pieces of my cup in one of the bowls I’d forgotten about. My other dishes found purpose only once their sovereign had passed. The glue held for a few days, but broken things don’t just come back to life if you slather them in chemical optimism. The Krazy Glue life support didn’t last, and, seeing no other recourse, I buried my cup’s remains in the tiny patch of dirt by my front door.
My next purchase was the dish-equivalent of finding a mail-order bride when your first spouse dies. I bought a new cup, a strong cup, purportedly indestructible, remarkably plastic. It took me 1 cup of tea to realize I was drinking filth from the gaping orifice of a synthetic abomination. I tried to replace my dear cup with something stronger, but in doing so, I had found a soulless monstrosity, an immortal cup with entirely no spirit. I had bought the vampire of cups. I hit it with a hammer, but the hammer bounced off. I threw it in the dirt outside, but it didn’t crack or even bounce very far. It got dirty, and I cleaned it because I owed it that much respect. I ended up using the false cup for a lot of gin, then I threw it in a dumpster without cleaning it.
Finding no solace, my last purchase was Human, All Too Human by Friedrich Nietzsche because there is no joy or tea without my cup. Nothing matters“there is not enough love and goodness in the world to permit giving it to imaginary things,” but my cup was real.