Nkinda Zokutauka (Broken Cup)

I didn’t know it had become part of the clutter. Another item amongst the heap of junk and chaos that became the surface of my coffee table.

Distracted, I carelessly swiped at the miscellaneous objects with my already full hands.

I didn’t see it fall.

But it is rare that one bears witness to the precise moment that change becomes inevitable.

The sound was heart-wrenching.

The last call of a ferocious beast being taken down by betrayal and a lesser foe–denied an honorable end by something worthy.

I couldn’t look at first, terrified to know the extent of the damage.

Denial was setting in. “Please don’t let it be that. Not that one.”

I gained the courage to look upon the damage, and there it was. My favorite coffee mug lay on the floor broken into pieces.

Instinctively, I knelt down and gathered the scattered pieces into my hands. Memories played in my mind. I could feel my hands mold perfectly around the curvature of the mug.

Warmth radiated into my hands as if the cup was just filled with hot morning coffee. Scents seemed to permeate the room.

Complex aromas of a dark organic roast from Ethiopia or Mexico or Columbia wafted by–the smells that invigorated me, inspired me to change my perspectives, and thus changed me.

But at that moment, my vessel for those magical moments rested in my hands, in pieces, as a result of my own carelessness.

I sat silently about ready to accept my loss.

“Does it have to end here?”

“Can I fix this?”

“What kind of coffee lover would I be if I didn’t even try to repair my favorite cup? Threw it away without so much as an afterthought?”


“Not this mug; not this time.”

I got the best glue I could find, and I put the pieces back together. And although its dollar worth diminished that day, its value to me increased immeasurably.

Maybe one day someone will witness me with this mug, handling it delicately. Taking an extended moment before taking my first sip from it.

They might see me storing it in a place all its own, away from my other mugs. Maybe they will ask, “why are you taking so much care for a coffee cup?”

And I will reply, “because I know where the cracks are.”

“To squander a gift, to use it poorly, is to devalue the gift and insult the giver.” – Charles Eisenstein

Thanks for reading.

2 responses to “Nkinda Zokutauka (Broken Cup)”

  1. Hey Andrew, I was in Philadelphia last week visiting with Graham. Thought I’d drop you a line and say hi. Hope all is well.


    1. Ah, that makes me miss home little bit. I’m doing well, and I hope you are too. Do you have my email address?


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