new stains for the new year

My grandmother drank boiling black coffee from a mug that looked like it belonged on the counter of an old diner. It was thick and white and stained. She had other mugs too, of course, but this mug was Esther’s Coffee Mug, so special it’s worthy of being capitalized. That woman drank coffee all day long. When she died, one of us scrubbed that mug free of stains and it became unrecognizable.

I don’t drink coffee but I do drink tea. Boiling black tea with nothing added to it, ritualistically enjoyed in the morning and in the afternoon. And I have a mug that is only for that tea. My other mugs are used by guests or for my own cups of herbal tea. But Liz’s Tea Mug is its own special, stained thing too.

On New Year’s Eve, I scrubbed my mug free of stains, eager to begin a new year with a perfectly white vessel for my beverage-of-choice. And I’m already delighted to see stains forming inside of it. New 2015 stains.

Perhaps I just miss my grandmother.