Monday, April 1, 2013

Painted with Birds and Insects Amongst Blossoming Branches

The teapot had drawn him in—its blue pattern calling from some past; a dream perhaps.  Her dress, yes, blue slubbed with white, twined over and over, long like how his bones felt now that he remembered, something deep and flowing through him.

He wasn’t going to that shop, just passing by on his way to the hardware store for some couplings.  Some couplings, dammit.  And then the blue in the window glinted, caught his eye.  He went in feeling too large, of course, too unsteady.  If only it had been some bigger place, some vast anonymous brightly lit box where he could slide into an aisle unnoticed and browse with his eyes scanning the shelves, his fingers free to touch without any questions.  But it was a cubbyhole of a teashop, a dark acrid den.  He was afraid to ask about the pot.  He didn’t want to hear its provenance—how it was Delft or Chinese or what the design meant—he only wanted to touch it, to hold it close to his face . . . .

“You like that pot?” 

Oh please, he thought, don’t say it, don’t tell me.  “Yes,” he nodded, looking downward, sighing.  

Just then another customer banged through the door, jangling the red strung tangle of brass bells and asking loudly, almost bellowing:  “Tea.  I need Green Tea.  And White Peony.  Do you have these?”

Oh, thank god, he thought.   While the proprietor re-directed her gaze, he reached quickly into the window display and grabbed the teapot, pressing the blue shining ceramic to his cheek.  A sleek, cold rush; thrilling, like popping one’s head out at night from an overwarm house to just catch a glimpse of a sliver of the moon before it was shrouded again in frosty clouds.  “Forgive me.  Forgive me, my love,” he whispered to the soft glaze, the tiny twists of stems and wings.  Just as quickly as he had grabbed it, he replaced the pot and left the store.  Back on the blaze of the sunlit street, he felt his heart burring, his whole being smiling.  What, what was he doing?
He had gone mad.  He shrugged and kept going. 

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