Her days were the same, getting the kids ready, sending them off with their father to school, picking up after them, getting the house in order. Whoever said being a stay at home mom was easy, should trade places with her. She was perennially tired and almost always doing something for the family. But she loved it all. Her family gave her joy and she’d wake up every day with renewed energy looking forward to doing the same things because she knew she was lucky to have them, her own little world on this huge planet.
Only one thing gave her more happiness and that was her 30-minute tea break in the evening right before her kids got back home. She’d sit down with her diary, sometimes a newspaper, play some light music and sip on her hot cup of black tea. Most of the time what she had with her was never used. She’d stare into the space, or aimlessly look at the busy streets outside her home. She’d look at the people walking in a hurry, she’d watch the hawkers yell out rhymes matching the latest fashion with their price, she’d watch the couples walk together hand in hand, occasionally she’d see the lone stars talking to the dogs sitting by the side of the road. These 30 minutes were her time, a time when she didn’t have to think of anything. A time when she would truly be herself, free of the world, the life she led, the responsibilities. These 30 minutes were the best part of her day. The time she floated off in air, alone with herself, her black tea and… him.
He hated the amount of sugar she puts in her tea. He was the health conscious one between the two, the one who always squeezed a little bit of lemon much to her chagrin. They’d hold hands and look deep into each other’s eyes as if they were making out constellations in their eyes. He’d always be the one to say something first. It was a 70:30 speaking ratio. He couldn’t keep quiet too long and most often whatever he said would result in a thunderous laughter from her. He was the only man that made her laugh like that. Her mind wanders off to what he must be doing at work.
Her laughter was the loudest he had ever heard. Even today at work when he hears someone laugh, he can’t help thinking of her laughter. She never laughed like that the first time they met, she was docile and timid, but with him she just let herself go. He smiles at the thought as he adds another heap of sugar to his black tea. Sipping it he smiles at the sugary aftertaste. Their conquest for good food and sunflowers had them taking off almost every weekend to someplace new. They’d drive long distances and still come back feeling they didn’t get enough time together. It wasn’t young love, they knew that. It stood the test of time, the world could see that and it was rare. So, rare that he never let her out of his sight, afraid of what might happen. She’d squeeze his hand and assure him that she’d never go away and in that moment, he knew that he was the richest man in the world. He takes the last sip of tea feeling thankful about this love and turns back to his desk, adjusting the family photo on the side of his computer. Sighing he moves the empty tea cup away.
Back home the doorbell rings and she comes back to reality. Her husband and two children rush into the home. Her husband asks, “Thought I’d come home early today. What were you up to baby?”
Taking his coat, she’d say, “just… having tea.”
“How about make one cup for me?”, he asked.
She looks thoughtful and says, “I’ll get you a cup of coffee”.
She goes to the kitchen and drains the cold remains of her tea in the sink and looks out the window. A world apart, tea time was the only time they could be together. Lovers are lost but the love always remains in some form or the other. Theirs’ was a high tea love.