**This week’s prompt is simple: a teacup that brings back memories. Enjoy!**
Fifty years in a house accumulated a lot of memories. I couldn’t do much of the packing myself, but I still supervised. Walking from room to room, trying to keep out of the movers’ way, making sure everything was packed into the right boxes. Some were going to the children, others to Goodwill. Just the essentials were coming with me. After so long, it was nice to downsize.
I looked up at my son, who looked so much like his father it was ridiculous. He had Gene’s blue eyes and dark hair, a contrast to my brown eyes and blond hair. Simon had been the first one Gene and I told when we’d finally gotten together, and he’d been the most supportive. His mother had too, come to that, God rest her. My own children had taken longer to come around. But Simon had accepted it from the first, and took great delight in shocking his friends by introducing both his fathers.
“Come look at the china cabinet. Tell me what you want.”
I took his hand and let him lead me into the dining room. The behemoth piece of furniture was going with the rest of the set to an antique shop. Simon didn’t want it, said it wouldn’t fit into his house.
We started going through the things inside. China and special glasses. The beer steins from our trip to Germany. A glass owl from Austria. And there, at the back, a bone china tea cup with gold on the rim. I reached for it with shaking hands, my arthritic fingers not quite able to grip it. Simon helped, pulling it out, making sure I didn’t drop it. I touched the fine handle and tears filled my eyes.
“Your pop got that for me. There was a whole set, but we couldn’t afford it at the time. But he knew how much I loved it. Wanted me to have it. I only drank from it once, you know. He made me tea and I drank it. And then we put it away, so it would never get lost or broken.”
That had been in our early stages, when Gene and I were still sneaking around, terrified of getting caught. He’d already left his wife, mine had died, but still we were afraid. Back then, we could have been killed just because of who we loved. I’d told Gene to leave me, insisted that, unlike me, he found women attractive too. He should go and find another wife. I wanted him to be safe. I didn’t care about myself, but Gene…he could be safe.
“I’ll make sure it’s packed with extreme care, okay? Pop wouldn’t want anything to happen to that.”
The move was necessary, but I still couldn’t quite wrap my brain around it. I nodded, staring at the cup, wanting to hug it to my chest because I couldn’t hug my husband. The pain of that, after nearly thirty years together, was stifling.
“Dad, it’s okay. Pop is going to be fine. But it’s smarter to live in the city, closer to his doctors. He might be seventy-five, but a heart attack isn’t going to slow him down.” Simon grinned, and draped an arm around my shoulders. “He’s not leaving you. Never would.”
“I know.” I took a deep breath, then another, and blinked away the tears. I had to be strong for Gene and for Simon. Soon, I’d have Gene back in my arms. “You oversee the rest of the packing. I’m going to go see your father.”