|The beautiful label looked something like this. But more heavenly.|
Long ago at work, we received an incredible stash of gifts from our Taiwanese counterparts. They were provided as we began working with them and included several delicious teas and sweets.
But the best thing of all was an abnormally sized jar of honey, gorgeous, tall and made of glass with a beautiful floral label and covered in a swooping, elegant font beyond my capacity for understanding. I didn't dare touch it; from whence had these gifts come? Were they available to all, or meant to be parsed out for those who worked on the Taiwan project? I didn't know and therefore let the shining bottle be, though an angelic choir seemed to ring out whenever I saw it.
At some point after the jar's grand opening, a label was affixed to it. A serious label, made with a label maker and declaring in bold, English capital letters beside the swooping Taiwanese that this was a jar of PUBLIC HONEY. I wondered whether, prior to the label being affixed, this had been a jar of private honey, which conjured up questions I dared not consider in the workplace lest the wrath of HR fall upon me and relinquish me of my job. (I'm an editor; they pay me to look for double entendres so they can be avoided. Stop judging me.) Nonetheless, I decided to merely be grateful for the opportunity to enjoy some tasty foreign bee spit.
It was glorious, a nectar of the gods that somehow missed its flight to Mount Olympus and wound up in the kitchen instead, between a plethora of plasticware and packets of creamer. Peach was not only this honey's flavor and scent - it was the core of its being. Where did the peach stop and the honey begin, or vice versa? There was no dividing line. The smooth texture - nay, lack of texture - blended itself thoroughly with any cup of tea. It transformed bowls of mushy oatmeal into heaven-sent ambrosia.
I am ruined for all other honey.
Unfortunately, being so thoroughly enjoyed as it was, we somehow took its presence for granted and never thought to document that such wonder had once existed in our lives, and we have no images to remind us of yesterday's flavor now that its time has passed. But it lives on in my mind and comes swooping back to memory whenever I taste an inferior blend. You, dear reader, must unfortunately take my word for it: PUBLIC HONEY changed my life for the better, and though it is gone from the jar, it lives on in my mind.
(And cell composition.)