The Cache Pot

I recovered the phrase from deep within my memory. What is a cache pot anyway? It arrived, this pot within a box, and seemed a peculiar gift from a 30-something year-old man to a woman he’d known since childhood. He had never loved me. That is a story for another day, but he maintained the degree of affection that caused him to send a pot packed with dirt and tulip bulbs primed to bloom when Christmas was a distant memory and we, I include my former roommate here, were yearning for spring.

It is white and blue like the Chinese porcelain in the glass cases lining the walls of the Met Museum balcony as you make your way to the little bar where trios play. I know because to this day the cache pot still sits on my kitchen counter. Or I should say that it sits on my current kitchen counter much like it did at each of my apartments before this house. It travels with me everywhere.

Amazingly, it is still in pristine condition despite being shipped by the U.S. Postal Service and those many moves, bouncing in rental trucks on long, narrow side streets from upper east to far upper east to west in Manhattan then over the bridge and around the expressway in Brooklyn. Other pieces were lost or broken.

But the cache pot doesn’t have any chips or scratches.

It holds the bounty of the seasons, right now two, big juicy Red Delicious apples and a green Mutsu that is going soft. Sometimes, the pot and little plate it sits on stick together with the juice that oozes from some rotting piece of fruit. But when I notice that, I run warm water over the pot and the plate untiI I can gently separate the two without breaking either.

I started out meaning to tell you about the tulips. Actually, I was hoping you would guess what happened because it seems so damn trite every time I try to put it into words. My friend died that long ago March and the tulips didn’t bloom. Is there an elegant way to recover from that sentence? I could tell you about the one remaining wine glass from the set of four he gave me, purchased when he and another of my friends were traveling in Poland. That glass is at the very back of a breakfront so that no one will use it. It is more fragile than the cache pot.


I forced myself to walk early this morning, before the rain began in earnest. Over the weekend, I read an article questioning whether there were more tulips than usual this year or, as a psychologist suggested, we were simply more aware of them. But I think I missed the tulips for looking up, trying to distinguish the varieties of cherry blossoms, breathing in the wisteria. So, I made a point of viewing the tulips. At the little park in Cobble Hill, behind a plaque boasting of the Dutch settling there in 1640, the tulips were past their prime, fully opened and slightly stooped from the effort, their brilliant reds and yellows beginning to fade. By the promenade, however, dazzling white tulips stood tall and firm. I doubted my memory of these white tulips when I saw the ragged orange ones in front of the courthouse. But oh, the irises; they were about to unfurl their purple flags. The rain came while I was walking home and that was alright too.

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