by Mari Phillips
a mug of tea…
You sit staring at me. My perfectly curved goblet, unblemished, clear and cool to touch. Perfect for sipping when you hold my elegant stem, or quaffing when you cup your palms around my body. The crimson of a ‘good’ red and the touch of your fingers fill me with happiness. You knew you weren’t supposed to fill me full, not etiquette, but you never cared. I suppose I should be pleased that you used me at all, rather than drinking straight from the bottle.
I remember the days when you kicked off your shoes in the hallway and headed for the kitchen without taking off your coat. Hand stretching out to the draining board - you never put me away - and the swishing gurgle and plop as you filled me up. Just you, me and the wine bottle. Your first gulp, no pause for thought, like the deep, deep draught of the traveller in a drought. Then you wait for the first wave of the fruity warmth to unzip your tension. Except you needed me more until nothing else mattered. I was there for you, your best friend for ever, listening to your troubles and cradling your hurts; all safe with me. I looked into your eyes until they were as red as mine.
Now I see the flicker of indecision; a recollection of promises made. Your hand reaches out with trembling fingers. You pull a mug towards you, brown, dull and graceless, an apology for a drinking vessel; a betrayal after my years of faithfulness. I watch you hesitate, maybe you have changed your mind, memories of better times. Don’t let this happen, we can deal with this together.
With a strength I didn’t know you possessed, you crush me in your fingers.
The kettle boils…