REAY JESPERSEN:
WRITER OF, AND DABBLER IN,
MANY THINGS

Of loved things broken

Last Father’s Day my daughter gave me a mug that she had painted at a local paint-your-own-ceramics place. It was vibrant and cool and had ladybugs made out of her finger prints and it was messy and handmade and, because it was a personally made gift from my daughter, perfect.

Looking, that is. Perfect looking. It was a bit impractical in one important way.

Being used every day for my morning tea—and sometimes later on for another—the white inside of the mug would get stained pretty easily, and it wasn’t long before it was pretty nasty. I’m not quite sure why that would happen (it’s the 21st century and we don’t have a coating we can put on the inside of ceramic mugs to avoid such quick and brutal staining?), but moving on.

We discovered one day that Mr. Clean Magic Erasers, those white cleaning pads that are great for getting the likes of marker off of the likes of walls, did a really good job of cleaning out the inside of the mug. It took some elbow grease, but it worked well.

Cut to a few weeks back: I’m working away on the inside of the mug with one of these cleaning pads, holding the mug sideways to really get some pressure on the inside of it and… well… let’s just say that when your hands are wet and soapy and they’re holding something that’s getting pushed at from one side… well… physics works.

It also works when a ceramic mug meets a floor at speed. At which point the whole mug became 21 pieces of mug (from what I could salvage) that went literally from one end of our kitchen to the other. Had I dropped it from the roof, I don’t know that it would’ve spread farther.

I’m not embarrassed to say that the room… um… got a little dusty.

I cobbled it back together as well as I could. It will never be usable as a mug again, with all the cracks and missing pieces which would be ample room for liquid to leak-nay-fountain from, and it looks very much like a mug that was broken into two dozen pieces and then put together again by someone who wasn’t quite able to make it all work as well as it perhaps should have.

But I’m going to coat it in a couple of layers of craft sealant to ensure it’s as strong as it can be, and then I’m keeping it, maybe as a pen/item holder (and as a writer and former graphic designer who’s at times dabbling in game design, I have plenty of use for such containers). Because while I’ll never be able to use it to drink my tea from again, and that hurts, the time and love that went into making it hasn’t gone anywhere. I’ll still have it as a reminder of that, just now in a different form.

And in the mean time, Jackie says she and Laila will make another mug for me for this Father’s Day.

Here’s hoping it’s metal.

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