It is not yet 6:00 am. I unload the dishwasher. I like the quiet this time of the day. I go about my work methodical, intentional. The last items to come out of the dishwasher are the coffee mugs. Even as I pull them out, I hear footsteps coming down the stairs and look up to see Pattu sans glasses, eyes squinting against the light in the kitchen. Her hair is tousled and she has sleep written all over her.
“I put dibs on the Dada cup.”
I nod and reach out for a hug. She feels warm and snuggly. Without a word, she heads back upstairs, ostensibly to brush her teeth.
Each morning, either Ammu or Pattu call dibs on this faded mug. A gift from me to their daddy for Father’s day in 2014. It features Ammu and Pattu in their twirly pink and green dresses, a picture of Laddu in her dad’s arms with the twins on either side. Over the past five years, the images have long faded, leaving ghosts in its place. The only people to drink out of the cup are the girls, competing each morning. The cup has seen more fights and drama over it than anything else in the house.
I put it away this morning wondering what will happen the day it breaks or worse, loses its standing in the eyes of the older girls. Will it be relegated to the back of the cupboard to one day be pulled out in a changed family dynamic? Perhaps, the girls will be mothers themselves and laugh at how they fought over this silly cup as children. Or they might gather their brood and explain how as children they loved this cup so much that they fought over it every single morning and evening.
I wonder if it will someday be an heirloom, a relic fought over after I and Saathi are long gone, not for its material value but for the ghosts of stories it holds.