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The first time was the worst. I can still remember what it felt like, as the scalding black liquid attacked, each drop waging its own battle against me. I imagine that I felt much the same way the ground does during a lightning storm, questioning its sanity and purpose with each and every bolt that strikes. I couldn’t make myself believe that I was here to serve this purpose. There had to be another reason. Only after she had decided I was broken and useless had I begun to truly live. My only regret is that it hadn’t happened sooner.
Sitting there I could smell the coffee brewing. The smell hung so thick in the air that it passed the thin line between pleasant and sickening. I had been through this same scenario countless times yet each time the same hopeless feelings returned, strong as ever.
Even after the others explained it to me I could still never grasp the whole idea of coffee. How anyone, no matter how deprived of energy, would willingly fill themselves with countless amounts of an intoxicating substance that left you with a bitter taste in the back of your mouth and a craving for more. Always a craving for more.
Having just stomped away quite frustrated, she left me feeling like some godly guardian of her overturned kitchen. From my elevated position I could see the entire room and was as sure as she that what she wanted was out of her reach. I waited still, patient as ever.
At the end of each day when all was said and done the loss of free will hurt more than any of the physical pain she had unintentionally inflicted on me. Knowing that I was there only for her convenience was a pain that never subsided.
When she reentered the room she was dragging behind her a tall dining room chair which only highlighted the fact that she was way below average height. Though in her mid-twenties Bridget was only just the height of a typical ten year old.
I watched, amused, as she stood on the chair and still, with her arm fully extended, was far from her goal. She had obviously not thought this plan out for very long. I felt satisfied knowing that her failed plan combined with my silent company pulled her frustration levels over the edge.
When the others had realized what I was doing they labeled me an outsider. I feared the day that I would become as brainwashed as they obviously had. I wasn’t so sure that their developed ignorance was a bad thing, though. Perhaps if I accepted what was inevitable it would all become easier.
She returned to the room again. This time balancing textbooks, phonebooks; seemingly anything she could find. She stacked them one by one onto the seat of the chair and after testing them for stability, began her ascent. She made it to the top and extended her arm.
Her warm fingers brushed my cool white ceramic surface, willing me forward, but no quite able to grab a hold of me.
Dyed-blonde hair fell into her face and the quick move she made to brush it away cost her any sense of balance she had used to climb this far. She fell to the floor, swearing but not defeated.
She left the room with a determined stride and I knew that this would be the last time. I knew that when she returned she would pluck me from my spot on my high cabinet shelf and I would serve my sole purpose of holding warm beverages.
I knew that Bridget would never let her dainty child-sized hands touch dish water and that in her eyes I was the last coffee mug in existence. If she wanted coffee, she would just have to get me down.
None of my life since Bridget brought me home had been fair. But who was I to complain? Who was I to argue with the way things were? I was, in every way that mattered, nobody. Any opinions that I was capable of manifesting had not one bit of influence on anything. There was literally nothing I could do.
The rusted ladder creaked as Bridget opened it and moaned in protest as she climbed up. When she was finally eye-level with me I could see the grin on the mouth that had mocked me every time she sipped my contents. Petite hands seized me from my cozy perch.
It was at that moment her much taller roommate, who had no aversion to dish soap, stepped into the apartment, the door slamming shut behind him.
I felt it before she did. Freedom was not something I was ever familiar with until I was free falling through the air. I knew that I should have been afraid but the floor could only hurt me once unlike the countless times Bridget had. I heard the cracks form and splinter as I connected with the tile.
I wasn’t sure what it would be like to be useless or even how I would fit in to the big picture anymore. I knew though, somehow, that even after I was labeled as an undesirable and unwanted object, I would be okay. In time, the only memory of these days would be the bitter aftertaste; just a small stain in the back of my mind.
My last sight before I shattered completely was a reflection of Bridget who was, no doubt, more broken than I.