by Janet Koops
Every night, Sharon (creature of habit that she was), would make a pot of tea. After letting it steep for exactly three and a half minutes, she would pour it into her favorite teacup, climb into bed, and enjoy its comfort and warmth. She preferred teas that were bold and full-bodied, even at night. The only improvement to her ritual, was the perfect cup. She had searched, almost endlessly, for a teacup that not only looked good, but met all her needs. Did it feel nice in her hands? Did she look nice holding it? Did it have an air of sophistication? Was it polished and classy? Strong and dependable? It couldn’t be too new, nor an antique. And of course, it had to be big enough to satisfy her thirst. Six months ago, she had found it. Or so she thought. That’s why the break was so unexpected. One night, without warning, it just happened. She poured her tea, as usual, when she heard a distinct crack. Sharon stood there is disbelief. All that was left were two distinct pieces and a hell of a mess.
For months Sharon told anyone who would listen.
I still can’t believe it, she’d say, it was such a shock. I still don’t know why it happened.
Eventually people stopped inviting her over for dinner or out for drinks, it was that uncomfortable. Even Tanya, her sister, called less and less. Their most recent conversation went like this:
Oh, come on Sharon, don’t you think it’s time you just let it go? It was just a cup. Nothing you do will bring it back.
I can’t help thinking it must have been something I did and didn’t even realize it.
Oh my God, for the last time, it wasn’t you, it was the cup.
Sharon didn’t know what else to say. You don’t just get over something like this. She had searched for such a long time for something so cultured, so elegant, so…so…refined. It was Royal Dalton for Pete’s sake. Made in England. Her sister preferred big bulky coffee mugs. She was careless and broke so many she now bought ones from the dollar store. While they looked good at first, they never lasted long enough for Tanya to get attached.
Recalling their conversation later that night, Sharon wondered if perhaps, she shouldn’t be so surprised. After all, they never had nice cups growing up. Nice cups never lasted long around their small apartment so eventually her mother gave up bringing them home. But Sharon missed their presence. The one thing Sharon had promised herself as a young girl was that one day, she’d eventually get herself a quality, reliable, cup. One she could always depend on. She’d felt as if she’d won the lottery when she found this one at an antique store down by the lake. Something about it just caught her eye. It was understated but confident. She could feel its inner strength. She’d finally found the one.
How could she have been so wrong?
* * * * *
Originally from Toronto, Janet Koops now calls Bend, Oregon home. She enjoys the challenge of short fiction and her writing can be found on her web site http://janetkoops.com and in Blink Ink, 50 Word Stories and (mac)ro(mic). When she is not sitting at her computer, she is exploring the high desert with her husky.