My body forms; what was once shapeless silver is now unyielding metal. A cold, hard shell; a container for precious cargo that I shall receive. The conveyor is my path to purpose, leading me; patient and willing to my destiny. The path shakes and trundles, shaking my body and illustrating my private excitement for the forthcoming gift.
First: my cargo. What shall it be? I know not, but gold cannot compare to its value. My cargo is poured into my shell, filling my form with its sustenance. The path moves once again, my second gift is up ahead. The face-giver does its work with mechanical vigour and precision, clothing my siblings with definitive colour, giving name to content.
What face shall I wear? I know not but it shall be more telling than a thousand paintings; each with a thousand words. The face-giver embraces me, shielding my silver sheen with vibrant dress. My head is crowned; the cargo secured and now the path ends at packing crates and waiting trucks.
I have been placed on a shelf with hundreds of my kin. We now await a selective hand to add us to its stock. My siblings are taken, one by one, and my excitement grows until I feel as if I will crack apart and spill my precious cargo. At last, my time has come and I am chosen. I am spirited away from the boring shelf and away from the jealous gaze of my siblings. Farewell and adieu; I go to my destiny, as will you.
My new home is a small cave; cold and dark. I not only live with fellow cans, but packets, tubes and bottles. A community of flavour awaiting use: to be mixed, poured, shaken and sprinkled. I watch and I wait.
Light fills the cave and my fellows are selected; taken by ones, twos or even more. Some never return; their purpose done, their combined art consumed. Jealousy and impatience resonates through my metal frame. Why have I not been chosen? Is not my purpose? Am I not worthy of the edible art? I wait and I wait and the cave becomes empty; leaving bitterness as my only remaining companion.
But one day I finally feel the familiar grasp of a hand once again. Oh joy! As I wonder how I will be used, I am transported in the darkness of a truck just as before. Returning daylight reveals grey skies and sodden ground.
People are smiling all around. I see my siblings arrayed in hearts along the ground, like forts of food steadfast against the cold. I am placed in the small metal installation among my kin and observe the animated chatter and good cheer. More and more of us join the fold; people and cans both. A plentiful bounty is made this winter’s day, warmed by the hearts of those who gave.
Some time later, I am taken yet again but by smaller hands this time. My crown is lifted and a spoon inserted; my cargo finding its rightful place in the stomach of a hungry child.
My role fulfilled, I am melted down into the liquid silver from whence I came, eager to begin my journey all over again.
written by Jack Sharp