by Rena Rossner

Plate. Wedgewood, Floral Tapestry, 1997.
It’s the first thing I did after we got engaged.
Went to Harrod’s. Face shining. Hope filled.
Nineteen years old and peering into gleaming
glass cabinets at patterns. The holy trinity:
China, Crystal, Silver. I picked you. Elegant
and composed of tiny mosaic tiles. Botanical.
Inspired by the Tudor and Stuart dynasties.
A fruitful marriage of fine needlework and
ceramic design. Riddled with insects. I should
have known. The first thing you do after you
get engaged: do not go look at china. Inner
circle the color of clotted cream, perfect
for scones. Tea parties. Sunday morning
brunches, omelets, waffles, strawberry jam,
syrup-topped pancakes, coffee, steaming, the
cream jug, the sugar bowl, lidded, the teacup:
Peony or Leigh? Choices. He never liked
the pattern, but I had already registered. So we
picked another one. With tigers. Something red,
bloody, perfect for steak: Persia. I was vegetarian.
But he pictured dinner parties. Lots of guests
eating meat. Red wine. Sauce boat. Soup tureen.
Another registry, another store, two patterns.
They bought them all, our guests. Complete.
I still remember the Fergie commercials. She
stood on a tower of plates. Nothing broke.
A testament to the durability of china.


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