I shuffle into the kitchen in search of coffee, catching myself three-quarters of the way there.
No more shuffling. Shuffling is boredom. I will move with purpose or not at all. I adjust my gait and pick up my feet. My shoulder blades settle back and communicate to one another for the first time in years.
In the cupboard, married life mugs clutter the front. They are unmatched and careless—freebies that multiplied like rodents while the cupboard door was closed. I pull them out, one by one.
I don’t know them. I do know my ex-husband’s employer, but its logo joins the others anyway. They all provided serviceable white mugs, long since scuffed grey with overuse.
The mugs get set aside on the counter. There is a temptation to open the window wide to let them escape, but the downstairs neighbor might think the sky has taken to weeping pathetic ceramic teardrops when they crash down. These mugs are not the type to learn to fly.
I will store them in the kimono box and donate them tomorrow. Maybe someone else can use them, but I can’t. They were fine when I reached around blindly for a vessel—any vessel—to hold my coffee. I used whatever my unseeing hand grabbed first. I’d rather go without coffee now than use these mugs that sneaked in when I wasn’t paying attention.
There, huddled in the back, I see a set of four ceramic cups with saucers, an ivory color with gold curled around the lips. They were my mother’s. I do not use them because you save the good china for company, because they might get damaged, because they are meant to be used for special occasions.
I never have visitors here.
There are worse things than damage from well-intentioned use.
Today is a special occasion.