"The quality that we call beauty ... must always grow from the realities of life." — Jun'ichirō Tanizaki, In Praise of Shadows
My days are dog hair, rain, posts of flowers and familiar faces when I remember to check Instagram; Lydia Davis stories; the sound of teeth scrabbling as Sam gnaws on his rawhide bone; updates on the father-in-law's progress (he still has the hiccups); Whatsapp messages from my husband in Brazil; little corpses Sam finds in the grass; hours working in the pub, waiting for my mother-in-law as she finishes her chores; Arrested Development episodes; cigarette butts piled in a small saucer.
The saucer is the remnant of a Japanese bowl, one of a pair given by a friend who died a few years ago after his heart gave out from too much partying. Small and heavy, the bowl had a dark-chocolate, unpolished exterior and a glazed dark green well, darkest at the bottom. When it broke, I salvaged a palm-sized piece with smooth white edges, so perfectly round, it looked intentional.
By that time, my life had changed immensely, unrecognisable to the 26-year-old woman that had accepted it as a wedding gift. The bowl had crossed an ocean, awaited in Irish cupboards, and supported sustenance on many a cold rainy night. It had outlasted my first marriage, only to assume a new form to suit the new shape of my life.
The saucer is the colour of the sea on a calm day, and when I clear the debris of my everyday life from its lacquered surface, I am reminded again of my proximity to serendipity.