Wednesday, 3 January 2007

Petr's Cup

He had bought it in a tourist shop in Prague not very far from that bridge with the statues on the parapet that has appeared in so many films and adverts under borrowed identity that it has become familiar to lots of people who don't even know where it really is.

It was only a few months before he left the family restaurant with the French name and his small cosy flat in the centre of the city with the big aquarium. He liked the cup as soon as he saw it. The deep blue of its glazing, the myriad white fish that turned into a foaming sea if you stared at them for too long, the squat trustworthy shape, the broad rim. Handmade.

From then on, he had been drinking his morning coffee in the cup and when he closed his suitcase on that cold last morning, he washed the cup carefully of the morning brew and slipped it among the t-shirts so that it did not break on the long trip to the western end of Europe.

England...

First, it was Bath. A small drowsy city that only seem to wake up in summer under a flood of tourists. The quite streets with their striking architecture. A little provincial, but with its own strong personality. Not so very different from Prague, after all.

Then, it was London. The Big, dirty, grimy Smoke; full of noise and people; full of dreams and opportunities. Some good and some bad. You can get lost easily in London. Not just geographically. People don't really care. People are egoistic and mind their own business to the point of being rude and inconsiderate. A lonely place, for sure, but an exciting one.

All along, he had cradled the cup in his hands every morning over the breakfast table; whispering to it his hopes for the day, for the future. How wonderful life is. What had happened at work with that guy with whom he didn't get along without being quite sure why. His next idea for a drawing, the creative outlet that sort of kept him sane despite the mundanity of his day job.

The cup filled with thoughts as it emptied of coffee.

Now it was time to go back though. Time to return to the bridge with the statues and the aquarium without the fish. They had all died. And he could not take the cup with him. Bringing it back brimming with his hopes and dreams would be a little like admitting defeat. And it wasn't defeat. Life was still wonderful. He had also changed, grown as a person. This wasn't going back after all but moving forward. The man he had, ironically, met in a café in London and fallen in love with over countless emails across the continent was waiting for him.

Still, the cup had to stay.

And so, that day, the second of the new year, he carefully placed the cup in a nice blue box in a nest of silver wrapping paper. He tied a silver ribbon around it and placed it into a black plastic bag before going out. He was going to give the cup to that nice, sad guy he had met some weeks ago at a dodgy party. Somehow they had become friends since then; always ending up discussing some serious subject everytime they met. He had tried to pass on his secret: that if you repeat it to yourself often enough, life does become wonderful. In return, his new friend had given him practical informations and showed him parts of London he had not even suspected existed.

They met at "their place", as he liked to call it, at the very public foot of the Eros statue in Piccadilly Circus and they slowly walked to "their café" in Soho. They had ordered, receiving their beverages in cardboard cups (because the dish washer was down). Once they had settled down, he placed the plastic bag on the table.

"Here, Zefrog, Merry Christmas."

Blue cup and box
Thank you again, Petr. Merry Christmas to you and best of luck.



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2 comments:

  1. small world! It turns out I've met the same Petr a couple of times in Prague, and my friend (recently moved from Prague to Warsaw) has even drunk out of the very same mug that he has given to you Zefrog!!

    ReplyDelete

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