I am a spoon in a laminate pressboard drawer, my pitted bowl heavenward to the darkened underribs of the countertop. My back and my tip are scarred, and, yes, I have lost plating in spots. But my neck is strong, patinated yet still bearing the crisp hallmark of my pedigree. My beautiful handle is etched with neo-classical and Arabesque motifs. I feel needed and useful in this world.
They place me prone on the cool pine table, or sometimes on thickly-textured damask. They eat alone or in groups and speak of absent people. They put me in their mouths and when they set me down I hear the familiar sound of silver on porcelain. Everything that touches me is either hot and damp or else cold and hard: tongues, fingers, the surface of plates, tabletops. Sometimes they bite me or drag their teeth across my insides, but the only thing I truly loathe is being put to the vulgar task of prying the lid of a tin can.
I have a provenance that goes back more than a century. I am older than your great-grandparents. One summer evening and for reasons unknown to me I was kept in a pinafore and passed through the porte cochère into the beyond. I was able to make out only the rough outlines of objects through the wispy cotton. I heard the voices of children and distant laughter and the clop-clop-clop of the horses drawing our calèche. When we arrived home it was dark. They washed me and put me back in a drawer and that was that.
Yes, even a humble spoon has a story to tell. In the idle hours I contemplate my origins: the formation of the cosmos, the molten coagulents which over billions of years would give rise to Earth and its abundance of minerals—forged into the Lydian coins whose silver was mined from the Pactolus River and the hammered metal of Byzantine chalices.
The men who operate the machines and who build them, out of parts forged by others from materials harvested and shipped and refined by others yet, go home in the evenings to relax and to be entertained and to eat soup. The world is fueled by the hydrocarbons which must be reclaimed from the ground and refined. Chemical engineers, inventors, drivers, craftspeople, shopkeepers, postal carriers, miners, industrialists, entrpreneurs, day labourers: without even one of these I would not exist.
They have served me and I serve them in return. Everything is connected, everything is interdependent. The millions of hands that were required to bring me into the world of physical objects take us up, and we feed them. We hear the stories of their small triumphs and their perrenial frustrations. We have seen the passing of generations and we know the still sad music of humanity. We know that life like hunger will go on.
One thought on “The autobiography of a spoon”
So many things to say.
At first this made me reminisce about in school writing challenges where you take a common daily routine/item and elaborate on it – that said, I am quite ashamed to say how many times I may or may not have googled a dozen word in this so called ‘simple school assignment’ of mine that I had first concluded this to be.
What an ending though.
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