It’s just a cup.
It’s not even a fancy cup, it has ‘made in korea’ stamped on the bottom. Recently my grandmother has been downsizing the items in her house and when I go over (which I should do more often but my life consists of work, work and a side order of work at the moment) I find she has piled a bunch of items on the bed in her back bedroom for myself and my mother and aunties and cousins to pore over like a garage sale. I collected a variety of mugs from the back bedroom – mugs are always in short order in my house because small children are butterfingers. Each mug reminds me of my grandparents home but I’m particularly protective of this one which no one else uses because it’s kind of unassuming.
It reminds me of my auntie for reasons I can’t put my finger on. I suppose I must have hidden memories of her using this mug – none of which I can recollect with any sort of clarity. But it reminds me of her so when I drink my tea out of it in the morning I am saturated in memories of her, my auntie, as she was when I was a child, long straight dark hair that I coveted, and her quietness.
My other auntie was 15 years older than me and I felt like she was a sister, other members of the family babied me but she called me out on my bullshit, didn’t let me win at monopoly simply because I was little and spent an entire summer eating ice blocks and trying to complete Mario Bros on my NES entertainment system. She was a friend, a confidant, a playmate.
My auntie with the mug was more elusive, quiet and calm. She would take me in the early summer mornings down to the pool where she would do laps and teach me to swim like a frog. She sat me on her lap and showed me how to form the letters of my name. When I told her my dreams she would ask questions as though they were important and not just a child’s nightmares. I see her in the garden watering the gerberas. I see her in the kitchen washing dishes. I see her turning up to the house like a celebration, for our missing piece had returned home.
And I love this cup.