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It's the eggcups that keep me awake. We ate our boüed eggs from them aU through our childhood, each with a preference for big end or little end up, for slicing off the crown of the egg or crazing it with the back of the spoon and picking off the resulting fragments. We dipped our buttery toast soldiers one by one into the soft yolk, then in the litde mound ofsalt on the side of the plate. When the eggsheU was empty we plunged the spoon through its base to the bottom of the eggcup, so that a witch couldn't get hold of it and use it for a boat. The eggcups were weU-traveled; they had started in Kashmir, crafted from walnut by the wood turners who had also made the fruit bowls and little wooden ashtrays, and the set of nesting occasional tables my parents bought. AU these pieces went back and forth from India to England to China and back again. The eggcups ended up in a drawer ofthe dresser that stood in for a sideboard in my parents' last dining room. I had left turning out these drawers until the night before the move that would take my widowed mother to her smaU "retirement flat." She was having enough trouble finding the süverware that last week, or anything else she needed, among the mess ofboxes in every room. The dresser was going to my sister's house, or I wouldn't have emptied the drawers. Thinking to pack a box of table Unens, I opened drawer after drawer stuffed with knitting projects, as yet unwrapped presents from past hoUdays, cushion covers embroidered in cross-stitch at school by my sister and me, letters and post cards and birthday cards and photos received over the last year or two, pul boxes and bottles with recent and more ancient dates on them, most of them partiaUy fuU ofpiUs that were never taken. And the eggcups. Six ofthem, a more or less matched set, although one or two were dumpier than the rest, the bowls set on sUghdy shorter stems. I puUed them, one by one, out of a muddle of cotton serviettes and place 107 108Fourth Genre mats. Each one had dribbles ofold egg yolk down the sides, and I was scunnered by this, as my mother would have said in one of her more Scottish moments. I should have taken them into the kitchen and carefuUy cleaned them, but it was after midnight and there were two more drawers to go. I buried them in the bag of rubbish that was accumulating in the corner of the room, and turned to the next tangle of knitting wool and needles. After the move, when various siblings had unpacked the boxes I packed that week, and put things away in what seemed Uke logical places, I heard that my mother was having a terrible time finding what she needed. My sister visited and found her eating cornflakes out of a mug with a teaspoon. The silverware had always been in the dining room drawer; why would it now be in the kitchen? The electric stove was a trial, after years of cooking with gas, and it mysteriously wouldn't Ught at aU in the morning, after she had carefuUy turned off the master waU-switch the night before. StiU, she could always put an egg to boil in the electric kettle, so nobody could say she wasn't cooking for herself at aU. I didn't dare ask what she was eating the boüed egg out of, or think of her fruitless search through the newly organized cabinets for the eggcups she had bought in Kashmir when I was a baby. L| ...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1544-1733
Print ISSN
1522-3868
Pages
pp. 107-108
Launched on MUSE
2010-10-13
Open Access
No
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