Sunday, 17 May 2015

The Measuring Units Of Our Lives

I'd like to tell you a story. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

Once there was a girl, and the girl loved tea very much. She came from a home that drank leaf tea from a pot, and she grew up nurtured by the familiar rhythms of boiling the kettle, warming the pot, spooning the tea, letting it brew.

The girl grew up and left home for a city far far away from anyone she knew. She bought herself an inexpensive teapot from a poplar shop, and took it home to make tea in her new life. The new pot, however, was not the one for this girl. It dribbled when it poured. The handle wasn't the right shape. It wasn't working out. One day, despite warming the pot, when the girl poured the boiling water over the leaves it exploded into a hundred shattering shards, leaving the girl standing forlorn in a puddle of steaming tea, clutching a potless handle.

The girl knew what she must do. She wrapped the shards in newspaper and returned to the popular shop, and armed with a refund and more of her student loan than might be expected, crossed the road to the middle class department store of choice and purchased a pot almost identical to that in her family home, except that hers was blue. It was money well spent. The teapot sustained the girl in her new life with cups of moral support. It had adventures of its own. A beloved friend of the pot (and the girl) gave it two matching cups to be its companions. When the girl moved into a house that used a saucer for a teapot lid, the pot swelled with pride at being useful. A boy made a jug and painted it to match the teapot, and the girl knew he was The One.

The girl finished her degree, and another, and started another, and still the pot remained her constant companion, until one day the girl was moving into a new flat and THE BOY DROPPED THE TEAPOT! The girl was devastated, but she tried to hide it. I was just a pot, after all. There was another she could use. But the boy Knew (did I say he was the One?), and he worked hard and bought the girl a new pot, the same as the last. So the girl married him. They managed to move house many times, and the teapot followed them into their marriage, into parenthood, through trials and tribulations, and into their first Own Home. But in this home a terrible thing happened.

The pot was found one morning mysteriously smashed. And although it was not the original pot the girl had loved and associated with her story, she had come to love the new pot, and cherish the stories it had played a part in, and its demise made her sad.

The girl put the matching jug in the cupboard, and pulled out the smart teapot and matching jug that she and the boy had been given for a wedding present. It was a beautiful pot, but the tea cosy handmade by her cousin didn't fit it, and when she picked it up full the angle of the handle made her hand slide down against the burning china. The tea was good, and the pot was a marker of their new life, and so it worked. But there would always be a special place in the girl's heart that was tall and blue.