“I drink too much tea,” she said while making herself a mug. She lived in contradictions, she smiled in the face of irony and always added three heaped sugars.
“Stop, ” I said. ” You’ll become an instant diabetic.”
“I’m sure that’s not how it works.” She replied, the corner of her mouth inching upwards to create that dimple on her left cheek I loved.
She finished the tea making process and jumped up onto the kitchen counter to sit beside me. She stared at me from over the top of her mug as she took a sip, or long slurp really, the noise of which would usually make the hairs on my neck stand up in repulsion, but because she made it, I didn’t feel anything close to disgust.
I had a question that’d been sitting in the back of my throat for days.
“Have you told them yet?”
She swallowed a mouthful of tea. Gulped, more like. I’d said the words and I knew the answer before they’d left the edge of my tongue, too late to pull them back. “I’m still waiting for the right moment.” She answered, her eyes downcast, her fingers tapping against the sturdy mug in her hands making a hollow tinkling sound.
“I know.” Is what I wanted to say. Truthfully I did know. “Waiting for the right moment” was a good excuse as any, yet, the nagging creature living in the back of my brain wanted more. More explanation? Perhaps. More reason? Sure. More of a “yes I have, I have done it, they know”? Absolutely.
I slid off the linoleum counter and took to milling around my kitchen, putting stuff away, feigning productivity in replacement of what I really wanted to say, what I really wanted to ask. I felt sick. My kitchen was a mustardy hue of browns and yellows and hadn’t been updated since 1975.
Putting her sugared tea down she joined me on the ground, facing me. Her hands grasped for mine and I gave in, eventually, falling victim to her brown gaze.
“It’s like finding a pearl.” She began slowly, unsure. “But wanting to keep it safe inside the oyster”
“What kind of metaphor is that?”
“A bad one” she admitted. Her fingers had woven their way into my jumper, pulling at a loose thread, one of many. “But it makes sense. I think.”
She looked at me for confirmation. An indication that I’d grasped the point. I had, it was an obvious one. So I nodded, looking down at her fingers and the drawn out thread.
I moved towards the kettle, flicked it on and grabbed myself a mug. Listening to the water work its way up from lukewarm to scalding, I let the conversation evaporate.
She did too.
“I thought you didn’t want tea?”
I turned back to her and shrugged. “I didn’t before.” I replied, coming back to her, wrapping my arms around her waist, “I want one now though”.