When I got involved with Ken, I got involved with his teapot. He had had it forever, years before I came onto the scene, and so once together, it became our teapot. Fast forward decades, and add to that the reality that all things might end. Last week, the old teapot — I one I tried to replace many time, always losing out to Ken’s pleas to make it last as long as we could — started leaking. By this time, even I was sad to see it go, and why shouldn’t I be, considering this teapot’s place in our lives.
We made all kinds of largely herbal teas for years, staying up late on winter nights over hibiscus or peppermint tea, talking about whether we should keep hanging out, move in together, buy a house, get married, have kids, raise those kids Jewish or a multitude of religions, go back to school, quit or apply for jobs, quit or apply for other jobs, find new daycare situations for the kids, send the kids to this school or that one, paint the living, build a house in the country, fix up the old house, sell the house or be landlords, pay for the kids’ college, drive long distances for exhausting vacations, and many other topics of inquiry.
We used the teapot to heat water for thousands of cups of hot cocoa, with or without marshmallows or whipped cream, soy or almond milk, for one of us or forty people hanging out in the living room over cookies and leftover potluck offerings.
We turned to that teapot most mornings for the essential hot water needed for coffee, something that didn’t land large in our lives until the kids when teens, when it became obvious that it was either coffee, extended trips to the Bahamas, shots of vodka or losing our minds. Coffee won.
That teapot hung out on the stove when we were young, thin, smart, stupid, not knowing any better and knowing it all. In its hazy reflection, it showed us arguing over who does the dishes and puzzling over what to make for dinner. It shepherded us through living with a pack of fellow coyotes into young married balancing a toddler, newborn and spark of one still not started.
Now a new teapot, and since I know how much teapots can witness and reflect, I spent an obsessive amount of time viewing all the teapots for sale in town until I bought this one. “How much was it?” Daniel asked. I wouldn’t tell him, but I showed it to Ken when he walked in, thrilled at the beautiful shape and color of this new talisman of the kitchen. Ken shrugged, asked if there was any way we could make the old teapot work again and didn’t argue when I said no.
So new teapot, welcome! If I learned anything over the last 30 years, it’s how anything can happen, so I won’t even guess at the stories this teapot will witness although I have a good idea all the cups of tea, hot cocoa and coffee it will bring us.