There is a mirror. There’s nothing remarkable about it. As far as mirrors go, it is terrible at its job, for it has a spot where the reflection blows up like it would in a funhouse mirror. But this mirror is in my brother’s house now. It’s the same mirror from the room where I grew up. To see it in another place knocks me out every single time. It is such a simple act—to move something somewhere else, but to me, it is one of the truly fantastic things about how we lived our lives.
There was magic still in our identical, industry produced goods, regardless of how prosaic they seemed. For millennia, the story of humanity has been intertwined with the making and using of things. They were here; lives were lived, and this object, this little thing, was a part of it all. It may not be its most glorious part, nor the most vital one, but it made this life real. Pots and pans tell us about those who came before long after they can tell their tales themselves. Love is often stored, not in people’s hearts, but in broken necklaces kept safe in a pouch. It is often stored in a little ceramic planter—a reminder of a single day in a life teeming with days. We could not remember everything, and to recall what we forgot, we had things.
A home was a beautiful place, not because some interior decorator made it so, but because it had contributions from others. It was a collaboration, an orchestra of memories. A book a friend left at your place and never came to take back. A pen that did not belong to you, but you can’t quite place how it landed in your drawer. Chairs and tables stored laughter like a time capsule. When taken care of, things lasted more than we could ever hope to do.
There is a mug. There’s nothing remarkable about it. As far as mugs go, it is terrible at its job. Wrapped in cracks, it is not safe to use anymore. It knows more about me than most people could ever hope to do. Perhaps, it is cracking now, for it can’t hold anymore. It reminds me of simpler times—when love was easy, when all we talked of was art, when the bills were infrequent, and the struggles, fewer.
I have forgotten much about them; only the mug remains. It still tells me to keep writing.