My most vivid memories were of breakfast. Neither one of us was a morning person, so our breakfasts were often silent affairs, the hum of our appliances providing the only sound. Soon, the white noise of the refrigerator was met also with sizzling of eggs, the deep-throated thrum of the coffeemaker, and the beeps and ticks of toaster, timer and microwave. Uninterrupted by speech, the chorus of our appliances made a kind of orchestra, the soundtrack of our mornings together.
I famously never ate a thing, preferring a scorching hot cup of coffee while David made his two eggs over easy with a large helping of Ezekiel toast to dip into the runny, lusciously yellow yolks. While he fried and toasted with what I thought was inappropriate zeal, I microwaved my coffee, heating it up right after generously applying half and half, and watching it revolve in the oven was a sort of hypnosis. I was never fully awake until at least the seventh deep sip.
By that time, halfway through my fast-cooling cup of coffee, David had just begun to arrange his daily meal. He gave the process, repeated the same way every day, such careful attention. First, he pulled a bowl out of the cabinet just to crack his eggs in. In the beginning I told him how wasteful that was. “You’d better be the one to wash that bowl,” I instructed. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t just crack his eggs straight into the pan. It was called over easy, I told him. Not over let’s-make-extra-work-for-Shannon.
“Ah, but I have a reason,” he’d said, with a playful quirk to his smile. After he cracked his eggs into the bowl, he bent close to the gelatinous egg, searching for even the slightest sliver of shell to remove. I told him I didn’t see why he was so paranoid about cracking shell into his egg: I never got any debris in my eggs.
“Yes, but I am as yet an apprentice in the egg cracking industry and you, my dear, are the Master.” He always washed the bowl himself anyway, and even returned it to the cabinet when he was finished breakfast. That became the Egg Bowl, distinguishable by the inch-wide chip on the brim that revealed rough white ceramic underneath the green glaze.
It’s just occurred to me that I don’t even know where that bowl ended up. When I divided all our belongings into Things I Need, Other Things, and David’s Things, it’s possible that it ended up in none of those boxes, but in one of the donation or garage sale boxes that Emily arranged, during those months I couldn’t set foot in the house.
Today would have been our twentienth anniversary. It’s funny how you begin to forget things like that, but the bowl will never fade from memory.