‘It isn’t so much as what it never was’, said Alice, awkwardly attempting to adopt a stance and tone of voice approximating what she imagined a university professor might assume, ‘but rather, what it wasn’t ever in the first place’.

She paused, trying to follow her own thoughts.

‘For example’, she attempted to clarify.

‘If you break this tea cup..’

She picked up the nearby object and dropped it to the ground, adding a small flourish for effect, but it merely bounced, several times, then rolled to a stop, defiantly intact.
She glared at the offender, then stomped on it furiously until it was only small pieces.
“Like so..”, She announced.

‘You not only destroy the many cups of tea it might have been, but also the many cups of tea it never was.’

‘Aren’t those the same thing?’, asked the Dormouse, who was the only one really paying attention.

Alice frowned, not entirely certain, but unwilling to appear wrong at this point, drew herself up importantly.

‘Decidedly not!’ She declared.