Fracking is Your Grandmother's Teacup

August 30, 2012
As you grew, you always looked at that teacup, sitting pristinely in the cupboard of your grandmother's dining room. It was the most beautiful thing you'd ever seen. By the time you were an adolescent, you could recount the details of that teacup perfectly: the soft pink petals of the roses that delicately patterned the side, the differing shades of green that caressed the rim in a permanent embrace, the soft cream of the porcelain glaze. Though use showed, as the teacup had been passed down from generation to generation, you didn't mind. The softened rim gave it history and the small chip at the bottom made it's character even more concrete. Its practicality was solidified by the faint brown line seen just below the rim. The love it received over the years showed in the small depressions around the outside body, from comforting squeezes of warm hands.

You grew and grew, as most people do, and the teacup remained beautiful, though it's meaning deepened. You began to think about what was below the glaze, the true sentimental value this teacup held. It had been passed down so many times, your own grandmother couldn't even remember who owned it first. Perhaps her grandmother had received it as a wedding present, or her grandmother's grandmother had been presented it for her tenth birthday. Regardless of origin, the love that had been poured into the teacup over the years was irrefutable. It had been the comfort needed on a rainy Wednesday, it had provided relief from a uncharacteristically hot summer afternoon, and had been a tangible way for your family to say I love you across the generations, until it almost seemed as though you were borrowing the teacup from your descendants.

Then, without warning, the teacup is yours. You have been seen as mature enough to handle the weight this teacup held, and you couldn't be more thrilled. Perhaps you could have displayed it on your mantle, or in a bookcase, but you decided that the perfect place for this heirloom to be showcased was in the middle of your coffee table. It's loveliness filled the whole room, and your heart. Every day you walked past that teacup, and every day it was more beautiful. The teacup was yours: the pink flowers, the green ivy, the carefully crafted handle, and all the love that was stored in the pores of its porcelain.

Though the teacup never physically changes over the years, it seems to grow dimmer in your eyes. The glaze become more brown and less cream, the flowers seem to wilt, the ivy hangs loosely around the edges, and you can't put your finger on the reason behind this. After much thought, your conclusion is lack of use. This teacup, though old and worn, still had potential! The crack in the bottom prevented it's true purpose from being fulfilled, but that didn't mean you couldn't take advantage of what it offered, and you needed something that it had.

For a while now, your coffee mug had been missing it's handle. It never actually occurred to you to find a new mug for your daily energy fix, you had just grumbled and griped about using the same dilapidated cup every morning. It was a hassle, and your weekdays had been rough trying to juggle a handle-less mug with all the other things you had to carry around. Then all the sudden, you glance at your grandmother's teacup on the coffee table, and think to yourself, 'It hasn't been used in years, and since it's mine, I should take advantage of it. I really need a handle'. Without thinking, you quickly fetch a small hammer. The metal hits the curved porcelain lightly three times, before cracks begin to form at the top and bottom. One small click, and the handle comes free. Two drops of super glue, and your coffee mug is good as new. Your grandmother's teacup remains where it had always been, though that small action had changed more than you realized.

As time continued to pass, the teacup changed. Though it was motionless, remaining in the middle of the coffee table, it's form was withering. Those cracks that had formed from the simple act of a small hammer were expanding. They grew in all directions, splitting in jagged patterns that contrasted the still delicate form of the roses. They reached out to the well worn sides, choking the comfort out of the hand worn body. They traveled towards the chip at the base, stretching and pulling it grotesquely until it was a shadow of its former self, less familiar and more alien.

You began to notice that these cracks had instigated the paint to chip. As intersections between the fissures were formed, small fragments of glaze lost the power to cling to itself and dropped silently down to the wood table. The teacups skin was dying, and taking with it some of the beauty that you still held close to you, deep within your heart. It's flowers began to dilapidate, pieces of petal and stem and loveliness chipping and hitting the table, making nearly no sound at all. The fractures consumed the teacup like a disease, strangling sections of ivy and rose, choking them until they couldn't hold on anymore. There was nothing you could do.

The teacup had become a shell, a skeleton of its former self. It was a beautiful sketch, but someone had erased the details. The splendor that you had admired and longed for in your adolescents was nearly gone, only materialistically evident in a small patch of pink clutching to the structure near the rim, the remnant of ivy encircling a now bare section of porcelain.

Though time had taken its toll on the teacup, and your initial action of striking it had left it changed beyond repair, there was one thing you knew would always remain: love. The love poured into this beautiful teacup over the years would be with it forever, engrained in not the physical body of the cup, but the essence of its being. The love from generations and generations of your family was what had kept it from collapsing, crumbling to dust under the strains of the cracks. It was the force that had kept those few pieces of paint clinging to the delicate porcelain, and what inspired you to right what you had done.

The teacup would never again be the same, and it would be impossible for you to find an identical one, as hard as you would look. So you cared for the one you had, as would should have always done. The handle could never be replaced, but the wounds from each side could be sealed. The paint could never be recreated, but a seal could be put over top to protect what could be salvaged. The teacup would always be vulnerable to more damage, even destruction, but a glass case could ensure injury would be more difficult to initiate.

You filled the teacup with more love than you ever had before, the tried and right the wrong you had committed. You explained to your children and your children's children the importance of caring for the teacup, and changed them with the task of looking after it for the more generations you wished to see its beauty. But most importantly, you apologized to them, for taking what was destined to be theirs, and harming it in such a way. You had never had the authority to take the handle in the first place.

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