If I had a beautiful mug, hand-painted with every color of the sky and the sunrise, perfect for holding warm spice tea and a silver spoon of sugar and a splash of milk; if I had that mug, which probably would have the name of some place on it and was found in a tourist trap and cost ten dollars too much; if I had that mug, whose handle would most likely break off and that would never be dishwasher- or microwave-safe; if I owned that mug, that spiteful, hideous, good-for-nothing coffee container; that atrocious, pitiful gift, that ugly, nasty beautiful mug, I would throw it across the room and it would shatter into a million pieces of ceramic masterpiece-turned-disaster piece, and hot water would fly everywhere, a Niagara Falls of tea, and I would say, See, this represents my life, beautiful and picturesque and wonderful and loved and yet a state of turmoil and the epitome of anger. People would tell me, Oh, how poetic, how symbolic. If you were a classic book, we’d read you and analyze you and write essays about you and yet you aren’t and so we don’t and so you better start picking up the pieces of the mug because it isn’t going to pick itself up and maybe you should glue it together again and have a cup of tea at the end of the novel too, for that would be coherent and a happy ending and so symbolic. But I would leave the broken mug on the floor, because lives are interconnected and when one person’s heart and soul and mind shatters into shards of undeniable, terrible, irate pieces of problems, it hurts others too, to step on the pieces, and perhaps that’s why people help each other, with a broom and a vacuum cleaner and a bottle of glue and a listening ear, unless other people are too busy smashing their own dinnerware to notice which shards are theirs and which belong to some other fragile human being. Perhaps it’s just better to take out my plain mug the color of tears and drink.
This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.