Portobello Road, c. 1995. We bought an old box camera that day for a friend of ours, and every guard in London seemed to check it before the day was over – guards at the the theatre, at Harrods, on the tube – each thinking it a possible bomb connected to the series of explosions that had occurred during the week of our trip. We also bought these two little matching cups from a potter – one blue, one yellow. They were less problematic.
We got them home in one piece, rolled between socks and underwear. For years they held wine and juice and water. Mainly wine. I think the yellow one broke. Or it may have been divided up in the divorce. But for a long time now there’s been just the blue one for me. Just as there’s only the bright yellow tiger teacup left – the elephant and the lion long ago dashed into shards. And only the one long-stemmed wine glass. There had been the lone snowflake plate, its matching cup disappeared, but it, too, broke last month, and my son cried violently; “It’s my favorite. My favorite…”
Someone opened the cupboard this morning and the little blue cup fell to the ground, like a tiny suicide. A piece of my heart leapt: “I love that cup.” But that was all. And with a dash, I was beyond it. None of the the tears an earlier me would have shed. Just a cup. Just a trip to London. An afternoon, delightful at the time, but not to be held.