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But what is a teacup?
Wed Feb 28, 2018 06:59

His desk partner seemed not to mind the intrusion of his cutlery into their personal space, which was good. He hadn’t met many people at Sonora yet who seemed like they would, but he was pleased to find a friendly face on the receiving end of his mild bit of clumsiness nonetheless. Ruby wasn’t someone he knew well, but well enough to have sent a few letters over break, and to know that she was generally kind and gentle, which he appreciated.

“Ok, merci,” he smiled as he retrieved the fork. He tried not to use too much French around other people but there were a few words that he thought everyone knew, and he had a hard time not doing it. Not exactly because the English word was any harder to call to mind, but just… it was somehow comforting. Tatya and Jehan had both encouraged him to keep speaking his home languages, Tatya so they could trade and both hear something familiar every day, and Jehan so that he could express his thoughts without getting frustrated. This had the effect of meaning he’d never effectively got into the habit of not speaking the odd word here and there in French, or even Chinese, and to try to do so felt heavy and effortful, and like an act of self-censorship. He was that weird trilingual boy and that was kind of cool. Lapsing into little bits of his other languages here and there reminded him of most of the things in the world that were pleasant and comforting.

“Ah-ah,” he chided her teacup, which was bouncing nearer and nearer to the edge of the desk. He poked it gently back towards the middle so that it wouldn’t have time to escape before Ruby did the spell, especially as he felt responsible for interrupting her on that.

It felt funny thinking of the little plastic thing in front of Ruby as a ‘teacup.’ It was so very different to his mental image of one which - unless one gave a more specifically Western context to the remark - tended to default to straight sided, handleless Chinese cups, as a general shape, and to rove through and select any of the many fine examples that his mother owned if he was in search of a specific. In fact, he only mentally classed it as a teacup because it was a child’s toy, and children played teaparty. He considered whether, if it had been real, he would have mentally designated it a coffee cup. Handled cups of that variety usually were used for serving coffee in his house, and they could be small and ornately patterned. But there was something inherently teacuppish about the item in front of Ruby. Was it merely the association of girls playing teaparty, or were there subtle difference between tea and coffee cups? Teacups - Western teacups - did tend to slope in more at the base, whereas coffee cups were often straight sided. But was that inherent? All teacups, he felt, had a greater sense of delicacy about them than coffee cups. But how did one rationalise something that abstract? Where was the dividing line? Was it only that he felt the coffee cups he had seen in his life were more robust because he had known them to be vessels for coffee, which was inherently less delicate than tea - was it his own association with the actual cups of his experience, or was it a real feature of the cups themselves? He vaguely remembered one of his tutors back home talking about this sort of thing… Forms, and perfect forms or some such… He would have to go to the library…

Ruby hadn’t really responded to his attempt to initiate conversation, and his very detailed thoughts about teacups were both challenging to put into a single language (he wasn’t sure what language he had even just thought all that in - did thoughts have to be in a language? He didn’t think they did. Sometimes they were, and they had to be in order to be communicated, but sometimes they were just there in abstract form and- he definitely needed the library) and possibly a bit overly specific for someone he didn’t know well. Ruby, for all that she seemed very nice, might not appreciate a monologue on the nature of teacups. Dorian was painfully aware that a lot of the things he thought were a bit odd or overly detailed, and he had been incredibly lucky in finding one person that understood them (he had a strong feeling Tatya would give him a blank stare, and then proclaim something along the lines of ‘If it has tea, it is teacup. Why worry about this? Just drink tea,’ which was admittedly sound advice - he was not going to let good tea go cold whilst he fretted about the vessel from which he was consuming it, but he still felt he would like to know). He thus searched for something more normal and conversational to try again with Ruby.

“It is good it is just for imaginary tea,” he offered, when she’d brought her teacup under control. “Otherwise I think it spills. Though actually, in China, some teasets do dancing to entertain - my Mama has one. But this is before the tea is poured. Otherwise, it is very messy, and wasting good tea.”

  • And balls and teacups.Ruby Brockert,Teppenpaw, Tue Feb 27 11:25
    Ruby was really excited about this year. Well, she was excited for the ball. As a twelve year old, she was too young to attend the fancy ones that her parents did so this was going to be great! She... more
    • But what is a teacup? — Dorian, Wed Feb 28 06:59
      • Something you drink tea out of?Ruby, Tue Mar 27 14:27
        “You’re welcome.” She replied. Ruby had learned French as a child as part of her lessons but her parents hadn’t cared a great deal how fluent she was. Actually Mother seemed to not care how well they ... more
        • “Yes, true,” he nodded, when she said that it would be hard to drink from something that kept moving. He gave her a half smile as the amusing image danced through his head. As Ruby talked more, he... more
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