For their 10th wedding anniversary, the esteemed Lord Hadley Worthington purchased for his wife a beautiful commemorative dish. The Dish was pink, a quite pale and quite beautiful pink, and its circumference was dashed and lined with patterns and patches that, arranged as they were, very much resembled the markings one would find on a tiger. Lady Gretchen Worthington had, quite coincidentally, also purchased an item of little culinary practicality for her husband in the form of a decorative porcelain spoon.

The Spoon was suspended, as was The Dish, from an ornate display hoist of some staggering monetary worth. The hoists had been affixed to the walls, above the fireplace and the mantelpiece respectively, many months in advance of the wedding anniversary itself. But I digress. The Spoon stood a touch taller than The Dish and, while moderately pleasing in an idiosyncratic sort of way, there was very little about it that warranted careful consideration or, indeed, any consideration at all.

Hadley Worthington had smiled politely after removing the spoon from its velvet lined ‘coffin’ (his choice of noun, not mine) before immediately slotting it between the supporting hooks that hung like two halves of a moon from the hoist’s ivory backed plank. Lady Worthington did not react well to her husband’s vulgar display of indifference and suggested that they leave for the airport immediately. Lord Worthington agreed without hesitation as he feared that another blow to the spine from Lady Worthington may, indeed, cripple him for life.

As for the trip to the airport, the Lord and Lady had made arrangements, on the same afternoon that the hoists were installed, to take a holiday abroad for the duration of one month.

In the whirlwind that followed the exchanging of the gifts, The Spoon was able to catch its first, heart wrenching glimpse of The Dish from across the long, mahogany dining table and the acres upon acres of floorboards that separated them. Of course, its view was obstructed, periodically, by the juggernaut of luggage and hats that was The Worthingtons, but it was during this tempestuous commotion that The Spoon knew, with a longing that made it tremble against those fettered crescents that pinned it to the wall, that the pebble of love had been skimmed against the rock pool in its heart. The pebble skipped, once, twice, thrice, before breaking the surface and spiraling, slowly and achingly, down into the seemingly bottomless depths of The Spoon’s very soul.

As the pebble sank, The Spoon swayed slightly, desperate to keep the sinking object afloat. Its efforts, although valiant, were ultimately in vain. The pebble struck the riverbed with ruinous force and The Spoon, already shuddering quite violently as it were, trembled with such intensity that it feared it may slip from its restraints and topple down onto the table below.

The Worthingtons took the rattle of porcelain as an indication that perhaps they should go about their business at a pace more suited to those who own several manors and many delicate furnishings.

It wasn’t long before the house was free of any sign of The Worthingtons, save for the ghosts of an early lunch, the contents of which had been scattered across bench tops and cushions and floors.

The Spoon, grateful for the tranquility that had arrived as The Worthingtons had departed, stared longingly at The Dish and continued staring until the gentle fluttering in its handle subsided to a barely perceptible quiver.

Never, in all its days as a display model in the home wares department of an unnamed retail outlet, had The Spoon seen anything so beautiful, so radiantly beautiful, so beautiful beautiful beautiful, as The Dish. Such beauty should be outlawed. Such beauty could drive a spoon to acts of madness. Such beauty could – What? What could The Spoon ever hope to offer something so dazzling, something so completely, achingly gorgeous that its very flaws in design and manufacture simply elevated its splendor beyond that which was within reason to endure?

Nothing. There was nothing at all that The Spoon could offer The Dish, apart from its love. And that was never, never going to be enough.

As the seconds and minutes and hours joined hands and cart wheeled into days, The Spoon set about trying to convince itself that its desire for The Dish was merely aesthetic. That was all. There was no love, there was only appreciation of fine craftsmanship.

This tactic lasted as long as it took The Spoon to realise that it had started counting the slight, almost invisible nicks and cracks in The Dish’s face and that it now knew their position and number by heart. And that these imperfections were caused by a customer’s heavy hands and not by some defect in the firing process. And when night fell across the room, The Spoon could sometimes see The Dish rock, gently, in its cradle on the wall as some impossible, distant sadness overwhelmed it. And when the sun rose, and flushed the room with autumn’s fiery hues, The Dish would lean, ever so slightly, towards the dining room window to catch the first rays of morning as they stretched out and spilled over everything in their world.

Weeks passed. And The Spoon, who now knew that the distance between itself and The Dish had become so vast that the sorrow it felt would never, ever abate, decided that a life spent in desperate longing was worse than anything that death could possibly devise. And, although it had been too afraid to admit this since the first time it had seen The Dish on the wall, The Spoon also knew, as it had known all along, that even if the walls were to topple and collapse and bring the two of them together, The Dish would never love The spoon.

So The Spoon began rocking back and forth inside the hoist. Slowly at first, in order to build momentum, and then with more purpose and strength. The half-moon latches creaked under the force of The Spoon’s struggle. The ivory plank began to scratch a smile into the wall. The Spoon began to feel itself shifting out from its restraints. The room had become a dense, maddening ocean of colour and light.

And, as The Spoon flew free from its prison and up into the air above the table, it imagined, for a moment, that the room had shuffled off its cloudy robes and had become calm and still and clear. And in that moment, The Spoon believed that it was able to see The Dish one final time, and that all the cracks and imperfections and scars were sparkling with such brilliant intensity that The Spoon felt as though it would burst.

When The Spoon hit the table it bounced, once, before breaking apart into pieces so small and faint that even today not all of them have been recovered. The larger sections skirted along the table, spinning, skating towards the mantelpiece above which The Dish adorned the wall. These pieces then slipped from the tabletop and shattered upon the floor.

But one solitary piece, the tip of The Spoon’s handle, which had been launched upward from the table as The Spoon had bounced, had sailed across the room, a glorious arch of sunlight guiding its path, and landed, with little fuss and almost no damage, on top of the mantelpiece and directly below The Dish.

And it was in the tip of The Spoon’s handle that the pebble had finished its descent. And The Dish, looking down at what remained of The Spoon from its cradle above, noticed that the fragment of porcelain that now rested below would fit perfectly, perfectly, in the tiny dent where the stripes joined together and ran along the length of its face.

For inlet: my best friend, my muse, my fellow oceanographer.

1. When he started at the office, he couldn't help but notice her: the way she took her lunch out of the microwave, the way she tucked the wisp of hair behind an ear, her modest nod exiting the copy room. But by the time he got up the nerve to speak to her, she was unavailable.

2. It happened like this: At a coffeehouse, a distinguished older man got up to leave, and as she brushed past him to sit in his newly vacated seat, she saw he'd left a spoon behind, a small caramel drop in its bowl slowly drying.

She slid the spoon to the side of the table, intending to ignore it, but there was no denying the sudden tingle as they touched.

She left the coffeehouse alone, but the lift she felt lasted far beyond the buzz of the caffeine.

3. A month later, the same coffeehouse-- she orders to go. At the counter, next to the cardboard cup sleeves and the plastic lids, there it is, that same spoon. Stainless steel, worn, in amongst a dozen others. Her spoon.

On a whim, she pours a spot of sugar into her cup, picks up the spoon, and gives her coffee a good stir. She pulls out the spoon, slowly, and gives it a coy smile. On an impulse, she raises it to her lips, opens her mouth, and licks the spoon clean, then--her cheeks flushing --quickly places it in the used silver container, dashes out the door, her heart pounding wildly.

4. At work she realizes she left her coffee there at the counter. Twice during the day she finds herself gazing out the window at the parking lot.

5. She wanders into the coffeehouse at odd hours, even when she's not interested in coffee. She pretends to look for a snack-- a scone, a bagel. Sometimes she orders a bottle of water. Sometimes a Diet Coke. When the barista's back in turned, when she's sure no one is looking, she rummages through the container of spoons on the counter, but she does not see her spoon.

She wonders if it is too late. If her spoon had given up on her, made a connection with someone else.

She thinks back to the missed opportunities of her life: band camp, the trip to China, the internship at CNN, saying goodbye to her grandmother.

"Will that be all for you?"

6. She takes a break from reading her email to Google silverware. As she looks at the Oneida, the Royal, the endless catalogs of stainless steel flatware, she searches the intricate patterns of both the modern and the traditional designs for a familiar shape, but they all seen gaudy and ostentatious, and she closes the browser window, feeling slightly disgusted.

Later it dawns on her she should have looked up restaurant tableware. Duh.

That night she dreams of sugar cubes.

7. She takes to reading the missed connections ads on Craigslist.

8. It's Saturday. She's been for a run. On the way home, she stops for coffee. Reaches for the milk, and there it is. The spoon.

She picks up the spoon, brings it and her cup to a table, and sits down. She drinks her coffee without tasting it, her eyes absent-mindedly surveying the people passing by on the sidewalk outside. She holds the spoon in her left hand, her fingers running up and down its length. She grips it in a fist, pushes her thumb against its rounded bowl, squeezes. She stands, drops her hand to her side, presses it into the top of her hip, and with a giddy thrill walks out into the morning sun.

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