I looked everywhere, but although I saw many objects that I love and value, nothing was a gift, except the very house in which I sit. Is an inheritance a gift? I asked myself. And if so, whose gift? The first or the most recent person to bequeath it?
Luckily, I spotted my little pot-bellied ceramic mug. Beige and speckled intimately with teeny brown freckles, a large crack the shape of a woman’s neck, and a nick here and there — which makes me drink from the other side. I LOVE this cup. It is a gift from a very close very old very cantankerous very controversial friend. We are speaking now, but have often stopped our energetic conversations about sex, politics, drugs, politics, money, and politics.
She bought me a tea set in the marketplace in the old town square in Prague. Stamped “hand made,” it was fashioned around the time the new peace was being forged between Washington and Moscow to allow the Czech Republic some breathing room, a little taste of freedom and democracy, a thawing of the Cold War.
Like the peace, the cup is cracked, beaten up, scarred. But it still delivers a delicious cup of the bitterest, hottest, black coffee in the world. Just like I like it.