Wish You Well

by Nicole Walker

I was bored of my cup. I know just by saying that though that it will now break and I will miss it and regret saying bad things about my cup. I will then say that I love that cup. I will try to piece it together. The glue won't hold. The coffee will flow out. I will remember the girl who gave me that cup. She put 14 wishes in it. One wish was that I would be a less crappy kind of person. Maybe I could be the kind of person who gives people cups with wishes in them. Wishes for bright sun on cold days. A wish for electricity in my legs. A wish for fish, which is funny since I was the one leaving Oregon for the desert. She should have put fish instead of wish in the cup. She wished I'd write a manifesto, a pamphlet, a newsletter about the water rights of the Klamath tribe and about the good idea/bad idea of covering the Sonoran desert with solar panels. Where would the lizards live? Perhaps in the water with the Klamath tribe, I teased. She put another wish in the cup about me being a less crappy person.

My cup is not pretty. It has a gold rim. It says Portland, Oregon, on it in cursive and a picture of a rose since Portland is the city of roses although perhaps it too is the city of cups since people drink coffee in cups a lot there. My friend, the wish-giver, wished I would drink more coffee. She wished I drank less gin. Or, if I drank the gin, that I would hide it in a coffee cup since people in Portland are suspicious of gin. In the desert, with our juniper berries instead of our roses, we are not suspicious. You can see everything here. You can see the sun singe the sand. You can see the storms coming in from Portland. You can see, because the light is so harsh here, the cracks in the cup, the way the wishes have become bandages, the way the wishes are their own manifesto, their own pamphlet, their own newsletter about water—don’t let it seep through the cracks, about solar panels—the cup, it transfers the warmth from liquid to cup to hand to mouth. She wrote the wishes and then I went away. I put the cup back into the cupboard so I will not say bad things about the cup anymore.

Nicole Walker's nonfiction book, Quench Your Thirst with Salt won the 2011 Zone 3 nonfiction prize. She is also the author of a collection of poems, This Noisy Egg (Barrow Street, 2010). She edited, along with Margot Singer, Bending Genre: Essays on Nonfiction, which was released by Continuum Press. She’s a nonfiction editor at Diagram. She received her PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Utah and currently teaches at Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff, Arizona.