I broke my favorite mug today. It was plain and a colorless off-white with coffee staining on the bottom. It had tiny cracks that seemed to form a circular ring round and round. It was poorly made, but it was still a mug and it had all of its necessary functions. It held liquids and it had a handle so it couldn’t have been called a glass.
I named it mine, when I moved into my new apartment. Only this mug was left behind. I doubt the previous tenant wanted me to have it, since I found in the trash.
He probably packed everything into suitcases, sturdy boxes, threw some minor unbreakable things into plastic bags, loaded up his furniture, and drove away in a hired car to wherever he was intended.
This mug wasn’t special in any way, and was basically an ugly thing. But it wasn’t broken, and it was the only object in the whole apartment except for the dust bin.
It was the only thing in the bin and it seemed neatly placed in its centre. It wasn’t dirty at all, and it didn’t have any flaws at the time, the sticker was still on its bottom.
It had never been used before. Probably.
It was probably a badly selected gift. From a person who didn’t really have the time to pick something out, or just didn’t care enough what kind of present he brought on whichever the occasion it had been given to the previous tenant.
It might not even have been given to this tenant. He might have won it on a raffle or something. It didn’t really matter. But I did wonder why it was sitting in the trash so desolately and almost sad.
I didn’t like it after my close inspection. When I had pulled it out of the trash it wasn’t special at all. There might be millions of them, just the same, in the world, still. In apartments, in houses, in offices, in warehouses waiting to be shipped. Every day people drink their morning coffee, their evening tea, or be it the other way around, or be it liqour, poured in the mug, because the husband or the wife is trying to conceal the drinking problem everybody knows exists, but is nevertheless so easy to deny.
I could have left it in the trash, since it wasn’t mine and I had mugs of my own neatly packed in bubble wrap so they wouldn’t break on the way to my new apartment; and mine were much prettier.
But the mug was fine and wasn’t broken and I named it mine.
The first sip of coffee in my new apartment was made from that mug. Exhausted from moving, moving around furniture and then rearranging it again until it was where it was supposed to be, where it looked best in my eyes, after unpacking everything and filling the closets with clothing, bed linen, shoes, after stacking the shelves with books and little keepsakes, after filling up every room with my things, after making this my new home, after a long day’s work, I sat down on my sofa, stretched my legs and arms and had some coffee.
I gazed at my new existence with tired, reddened eyes and kept rethinking my furniture. Would my comfortable, albeit tacky, armchair look better next to the window? Would that table need to go a little bit more to the left?
This mug was the only thing that wasn’t mine in my new apartment, and I made it mine, when my coffee machine poured some coffee into it, and as I would see the next day, the coffee made its first stain – the first of its many imperfections. Being tired after a long day, I just placed it in the kitchen sink to be washed the next day. I walked the walk to my bedroom. From the kitchen, around the corner, past my lush Zamia and into my cozy bed with a number of soft and colorful pillows, seven to be exact.
The next day, when I washed the mug, I saw the coffee had made a stain I couldn’t get out after a fervorous second wash. Gradually, the stain got darker and darker, since more and more coffee was poured in it each following day.
It wasn’t special at all, but it somehow reminded me of the time when the rooms were empty and waiting to be filled, when life was to take whatever form it might… or it just seems like that to me now, wearing my nostalgic glasses, in the same apartment that has changed over the years.
The whole apartment is packed now. The furniture, my clothes, my memories.
I broke the mug on purpose. It was time for a new beginning, with a new colorless mug I will find in a new apartment.