Ode to a Country Teacup

by | May 1, 2011

The greatest tragedy for a teacup is to be poured out.

The cup sits on the wooden sink, little glows of morning light on its chipped white handle. A teabag bounces softly in, followed by a gentle hail of sugar. The cup waits a second, and then a tumbling, bubbling, steaming cataract of boiling water rams into its sides, foaming through the teabag and melting the sugar.

The teacup steamed.

Ahh, warmth…

A bottle of milk hangs over it, tilts and the cup gapes widely to watch the swirling white string that billows throughout the reddish depths like a cloud.

The cup is content. It has filled its purpose and is rewarded with a slurping kiss every minute or so.

Outside the window, a bluejay flutters in the warm sunlight.

The shadows change until it is midday.

The teacup cools, its heat rushing away into the air like ribbons of pale blue satin. Now it is cold. The sunlight doesn’t warm its chilled body. It would have shivered, but no – pride keeps it stiff and strong.

Teacups don’t shiver.

Just as it thinks itself doomed to being poured out, it is lifted into the air, soaring like the bluejay outside and into a dark door that clunks when closed.

Buttons beep and a light blinks on overhead. The cup is squatting in a small white room. Presently, it feels warmth flooding through its core, suffusing its curved handle, drawing bubbles from the creamy tea.

Ting, the door opens and it is swept out into the air in a cloud of steam. In a minute it is almost empty, one final swallow of tea sloshing around deep inside it.

Come on, drink the last little bit…

It is placed back on the sink.

The bluejay peers at it, chittering violently and hopping distractedly.

The shadows shift slowly again and the last tendril of steam fades into the cosmic vastness of the ceiling.

The cup feels alone. About it, the wooden sink is a smooth plain stretching to blurred infinity.

A sombre chillness settles back into its bones. It can feel the sugar settling slowly, cystal by crystal. The milk rises, becoming a layer reflecting the highlights of the cup’s curved belly.

Would it be finished? Would the last gulp of tea be downed?

Suddenly it is taken into the air and out over the maw of the chrome sink. The snake-head of the faucet leers at it, the stubby handles snicker.

No, don’t pour out! Drink it! Finish me!

The black hole in the sink is like a puncture into space.

The tea swirls up against its lips as the cup is tilted. It desperately tries to hold it back, clinging to the cold wave with every particle, glaring at the laughter of the bluejay, growling at the hugeness of the great metal pit.

In a second a river of tea soars out and spills into the sink. Exhausted, the cup lets it go, its will aching. The tea splashes, each drop bouncing high and twirling into the infinity of the black hole.

Gone, all gone,

The cup lands on the sink amid a clatter of silverware. If it hadn’t been so proud, it would have hung its handle in misery, but no, it must maintain its self-respect to the very end.

This is the greatest tragedy to a teacup; to be poured out.

Oh sadness. Just one last swallow would have done it.

The cup hates to see the silver sink and the bluejay glorying in their victories.

But then, a teabag from on high drops into the cup. Sugar follows.

More tea?

Ahh, bliss.


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Dominic de Souza

Geeks over epics, mystics, science, the angelic, & movies. I am riveted by the Catholic frontier between faith, science, and history. I converted from radical traditionalism by a strange route – through archaeology. That led me to quantum physics, psychoanalysis and mythology, evolution and angels, and our Holy Father Pope Francis. I believe it’s important to read widely, from all sides, and to celebrate the good, true, and beautiful wherever it is found. See more posts
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