Green ceramic bowl resting on a tile counter in the house I had to move out of way too soon because the couple I was living with broke up. No I did not get my damage back. Photo by me.

Taylor’s Bowl

Taylor has this odd thick bowl that he keeps in the kitchen. To be fair, where else is he supposed to keep it? It is, after all, a bowl. It’s not a very big bowl. It will barely hold a proper serving of soup, but it is a rather thick bowl. Really thick. Not too thick to be useful, but thick enough to be interesting. This is an individual bowl, there are no others like it–not in this kitchen, anyways. Besides its robust form, a shiny, forest green glaze sets it apart from all the other white dishes on the shelf.

The bowl knows that it’s different. The other dishes never let it forget that it’s different. Not in an intentionally cruel way. Rather, it is with their overly compensating acceptance that the regular dishes constantly remind the bowl that it is, indeed, not regular. “You should just stand on your own,” they would say, “we were meant to be stacked, but you’d just be awkward. You’re just too unique to fit in!” So as the soup bowls and the flatware nestled snuggly in their cozy, uniform piles, the bowl sat on its own and thought about life. It thought about the woman whose skilled, calloused hands formed it into existence those many years ago.

The bowl was intended to be a gift, a hopeful offering for the rugged carpenter that lived down the street. The woman had overheard the carpenter lamenting his lack of kitchen supplies since his last roommate had moved out.

That’s it! she thought, That’s how I’ll win his heart!

She was, after all, the most skilled potter in the village. She would make him a set of dishes as special and rugged as he was, and then he’ll realize how much he means to her and how they are so destined to be together. It made perfect sense! She fantasized their copacetic relationship, where he would build beautiful cabinets for her to display her artistic clay wares.

The bowl was the first, and only of the intended dishware made for the carpenter.  While it was still in the kiln, the woman glanced out the window down the street at the carpenter’s house. Why was florist’s car pulling up to his curb? The florist got out of her car while her stupid puffy hair flounced over her stupid petite shoulders and she carried with her a large plastic bag which seemed to be holding a large cardboard box. It was a Walmart bag! The carpenter came out of his house to greet her on the walkway with a big, stupid grin on his face. He was way too eager to accept the florists crappy set of Walmart plates. He embraced his floral waif to passionately (and sloppily) reward her for her thoughtful gift. The potter watched the couple helplessly until they unlocked their lips long enough to move the celebration inside.

Melamine! She won him over with melamine!

The potter got over her disappointment rather quickly. How could she ever love a man that accepts plastic as a lifestyle? The bowl, however, hangs on to that disappointment to this day.

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