I’m Like This Mug.
Sitting alone at a small booth of a coffee shop, I sip black coffee. Its one of those places where they serve real food, but everyone who knows it just goes there to get coffee. It’s not even good coffee but people here still drink it. I was never sure why. I take another sip trying to taste anything good in the coffee. No, its like gas station coffee. The mug the waitress gave me is chipped. Smooth and rounded all along the edge until you get to the thumb sized hollow where a piece of the mug had been chipped off. I think about the missing piece of ceramic. Where did it go? Where is it now? How did it break off? I run my finger along the place where the piece used to be. Its dull, its been missing for a while so the mug doesn’t even remember it was there. Its forgotten so now it lives like its never even been broken. And when people come and sip from the mug it doesn’t use it’s empty spot to cut them the way it did when it first broke.
I sip again, this time I turn the cup so the chip is opposite me and when I tilt the cup to pour the coffee in my mouth I can watch the little hollow. I stare that little empty spot down watching it. Not sure if I am waiting for something to happen, but I watch it as my cup moves up and down, as I drink my coffee.
A song I used to know starts to play out of the cheap sound system of the coffee shop. Its a happy song, but it makes me sad. I look up as if the person I used to listen to that song with might be sitting across from me, putting more sugar than he needs in his coffee, grinning, and humming along to the song. But he’s not, he wouldn’t be, he couldn’t be.
“I’m chipped” I think turning my attention back to the mug. I lost a piece and its left a hollow spot in me. I don’t know if I can ever fill that empty place. I’m chipped. I’m not dull the way the mug is, not yet, I can still cut people. When they put their finger on that empty place, the place where the piece used to go, they get hurt. When they put their lips to my edge I cut them and they bleed.
I could learn from this mug. I could learn how to be dull so that people won’t get hurt by me. “How did you do it?” I think at the mug. “How did you forget you were missing a piece?”
I wish someone would come along and turn me, avoiding the sharp empty place. Drinking from me knowing I could cut them, but turning the sharp edge away from themselves. Give me the time I need to forget the missing piece and heal the empty spot. Give me time to become dull on my own.
I gulp my coffee until the cup is empty, its cold now, and for a moment I hold the cup in my two hands. “I’m like this mug.” I say quietly and to myself. Then I take the mug to the waitress counting her tips at the counter. “This is broken” I say as I set it down on the counter and walk out.