at Any and All Cost

If gold was my life after the intervention of the crown’d cup, my son was my life before. He still was very much a part of me, but in a different way. He became just another person to please, another soul to satiate with my gifts.

I sought only to make him happy, just as I was happy. His every need was met; his fancies were furnished in fantastical ways. No luxury was lost, no joy was beyond his grasp.

But he didn’t seem to revel in the rapture I reaped. Contentment seemed to escape him, fueling my fatherly instincts to please and provide. My cup brought me gold, and the gold brought me wealth, brought me status, brought me love. Why couldn’t my son share in this? Why couldn’t his infantile mind grasp that simple concept?

So I conceived to allow him to discover those pleasures the same way I did: through the cup.

I left it with him one day, left it so he could see the wonders that it created, the ease in which it brought bliss. It was almost assured. His child’s mind would be unable to fathom the cup, and he’d be reduced to awe. It would bring him all that it brought me.

However, it did just the opposite.

Where my eyes were opened to the world, his were closed.

Where my aspirations were sprung, his were staunched.

Where my life found a beginning, his life found an end.

I found him in a golden puddle, a shining halo about his small head. The radiant liquid dribbled down his cheek, some still caught in his pursed lips.

My tears fell, small splashes of crystal in the golden carnage. I blamed myself, blamed my stupidity. He was a child; he didn’t possess the reason to not trust the cup, to not lift it to his lips like so many others.

My wife left me soon after she found out, claiming our son as the only thread holding us together. It was a double blow to my heart, the loss of two loves.

But I still had the cup.

I sat on a step, stared into it with wet eyes. I didn’t take in the delicate designs, didn’t rub a finger across the cusp. I merely stared, eyes downcast into its empty depths.

It echoed my heart.

The emptiness, the perverse desire to replace everything placed in it with gold. My wife gave her vows, I gave her gold. My son gave me unbiased love, I gave him gold.

I gave the cup my tears, for there was no-one else who would take them. But are tears still tears when they've been turned to gold?

I threw it against the wall, against the floor. It did not shatter; never did it break. It merely chipped, sharp specks flaking from the rim, redefined ridges suggesting a crown.

The End

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