Teapots, like books, sit quietly on their shelves throughout the day. At least Nennella’s teapots do. Oh my, you remark when you enter the day room. There they are, next to the fireplace, next to the French window, next to the door that leads to the hall. Oh my. Porcelain, earthenware, brass, ceramic. An army of teapots waiting for someone to give them their due. They sit there, one next to the other, each in their own space.
But they’re just teapots, you say. That may be what most people think, but each of them is the custodian of a story, has a personality, and like us, is the depository of a history.
As night falls and no one is interested in drinking tea any more, we humans withdraw into our own private spaces. Safely left alone, the teapots slowly stir and shake themselves, like a dog caught in the rain showering everything within reach, or like a cat, stretching out after a nap.
It is their time now, as they resume conversations left unfinished yesterday, looking askance at their neighbors as they wonder why that human who put them there in the first place hasn’t dusted them more frequently. Oh well, humans are humans, they say, and seem to have too many things to do.
It takes some doing, but I’ve discovered that if I sneak in and silently pretend I’m not there, becoming one with the armchair, I can eavesdrop and discover they have minds of their own and are quite forthright in their judgments. On the whole though they are pretty self-centered. After all no one ever asked them to do much, except just be. Teapots, yes. But how many of them actually were used to make tea?
Sniffing haughtily with its long spout, the glossy cream-colored pot, perched precariously on its three elegant legs, is the first to make itself heard. Don’t care what you think, she says, I am by far the handsomest of you all.
I wouldn’t be so sure of that, replies the lotus-shaped teapot with its sweeping upturned handle. My ancestors are certainly more aristocratic than yours and isn’t that what matters?
So what, the Chinese brass kettle studded with glittering gemstones chimes in as it looks askance at its neighbor dressed in a paisley of golden leaves and flowers. I’ll certainly outlast you all.
Now will you stop bickering, pipes up the homely cottage shape on the lowest shelf. Come now, shouldn’t I be the one to decide? After all I am the oldest. I was the first, the doyen, and while I may look humble, I’m the one who started it all.
None of you – da- da- da – can compare to me, I’m really up to date. I’m what you call fu-futur- futuristic and you old-fashioned types make me laugh, says the snooty Dali-like teapot on the middle shelf.
Ah, but I was loved, says the simple little earthenware pot on the topmost shelf. My lady would have wept if I had been dropped and shattered.
No chance of that, you weren’t ever used, snaps the teapot covered with strawberry and leaf designs and with a twisted handle. Well neither were you, chime in the others laden with fruits and flowers. We’re all just for show.
And how about me, squeaked the tiniest of all. I know I’m only a miniature, but look how pretty I am.
Oh, come now, said the elephant, his trunk raised up to form the spout. While I’m a rather strange shape for a teapot, we mustn’t forget that each and every one of us is basically nothing but a container. Does what we look like really matter?
The elephant turned around waiting for an answer from the cat close behind, who turned her head to look at the smaller elephant behind. Quite a menagerie we have here, said the little pig. Owl, duck, monkey, lizard. Even some fish and a teddy bear.
The wise old owl blinked its enormous eyes and was about to put in his two-cent’s worth, when there was a sound of steps coming closer and closer. They all looked at each other in surprise for it was way after midnight and no human being was supposed to be wandering through the halls. None of them had noticed me for I hadn’t moved although I knew those footsteps were someone coming to see what all the tumult was about. Not another word was said, except for a muted peep from the shiny copper pot on the top shelf, before they all returned to that other world of theirs.