Tag Archives: tea

Too Big of a Decision

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He followed them into the coffee shop but didn’t even like coffee. He just thought the girls were cute and was tired of weekends with no plans.

“What can I get you?”

It took him a moment to realize the barista was talking to him, so he froze. He hadn’t thought this through. It was all about the girls.

“Um…a cup of tea, please.” He didn’t exactly love tea, either.

“What kind?”

Shit, there were kinds? He was lost. The barista tapped his foot, then pointed to a list on the wall. Breakfast? Oolong? What the heck is oolong? What does that even mean? Ginger tea? What the hell?

“Uh…plain?” he replied.

“Size?”

“Medium?”

“We have 16 ounce and 24 ounce.”

Shit. “16 ounce, please.”

The man made the tea and handed it to him.

“Fresh lemon?”

The girls were gone.

Repost of My Favorite of My Love Stories

Happy Valentine’s Day! I’m reposting one of my favorite love stories for this special occasion.

All photographs by the amazing Sandra Markovic.  See her website or her blog.

It was her birthday, and it had been a long time since she’d moved in with him from Ohio, and without her mom around he knew she’d likely be a little down. He had to come up with the plan of all plans. How could he make her feel as special as she made him feel? She reminded him on a regular basis, with her fake French accent that he adored, how she sometimes wore her hair in two perfect ponytails because he once told her it was so cute, how she always bought him kalamata olive hummus even though she was more of a fan of roasted red pepper…this list could go on and on. This had to be perfect.

He could go on a quest for the perfect gift. But she was better than that. A perfect night of romance? No, too simple.

This was going to be tough, and he knew it. He easily and nonchalantly reminded her he loved her on a daily basis, which now made a perfect birthday near impossible. He’d outdone himself on so many occasions so naturally, without even trying, that now when it really counted he was drawing a blank. Coming up empty. <insert another cheesy cliché here>.

✩✩✩✩✩

When she came home from the studio she had a feeling something big would happen. She opened the door slowly, expecting any number of possibilities but found nothing. She looked in the living room, dining room, he didn’t even seem to be home. Where was he?

She went to the kitchen, and there was a pot on the stove. She opened it, an automatic response since he often left her meals, and in it was a simple yellow post-it.

“Our first kiss.”

She put the post-it down and started to go upstairs, then suddenly stopped halfway up, ran back down, quickly grabbed her coat and rushed out the front door.

✩✩✩✩✩

She practically ran to the nearby park, past the children playing on the merry-go-round, past the slide, the sandbox, the see saws, to the swing set, to the second swing, and sat down. What next?

A little girl walked up to her. She was in the cutest little dress, pigtails, huge, innocent eyes, and asked, “Are you Alexandra?” She looked at the little girl and nodded, smiling, as the little girl search her pockets and pulled out a post-it. “He says this is for you.” At this the little girl ran back to her mother, embarrassed, and her mother gave her a hug, then looked at Alexandra and smiled.

Shaking, Alexandra unfolded the post-it and read. “The place where you wrote that song I love.”

And off Alexandra went.

✩✩✩✩✩

And so Alexandra found herself jumping into her car, the Volkswagon bus she’d bought right before they drove cross-country. She turned the ignition and it chugged, chugged, started, stalled. She tried again. And again. That’s when she noticed the post-it on the seat next to her.

“Put on your best.”

For once she appreciated the stalling car and ran inside. She quickly found an old fifties dress, her favorite, practically tore off her clothing, threw it on and ran out the door, hoping the old bus would be friendlier to her.

It was.

She tore out of the parking spot and headed in the direction of the diner where she wrote the song 1900 Miles and pulled into the parking lot. She took quick notice that his car wasn’t there so knew there would be another post-it.

Upon entering the diner, she looked towards their favorite booth, saw it was marked RESERVED and sat there, panting a bit. Their usual waitress walked up.

“Hey there. How’s it going so far?” she said with a knowing smirk.

“Fine.” She couldn’t contain her smile. “Do you have something for me?”

“Yup. Wait here.”

As Alexandra sat, impatiently, curious and overwhelmed with feelings, she was having the time of her life.

That’s when the waitress returned with a cup of hot Earl Grey tea with a little milk.

“He said you’d figure it out. He said there was no note this time.”

Alexandra looked at the tea she’d just set before her and really had to think. No note. That meant the clue had to be…

…THE TEA!

✩✩✩✩✩

Alexandra had the tea switched to a to go cup, tried to pay, found out he’d paid in advance, and ran out the door on yet another adventure.

She knew he loved a certain store, one of those barrel places that has bins and bins of food purchased by the pound, and there was a whole tea room. They’d spent hours of time together in there, searching for different teas they’d yet to try. That had to be it.

She raced into the parking lot, and as she ran in pulled the door too hard and let it slam against the wall.

“Hey!”

“Oops sorry Mister Hansel. But I’m in a hurry.”

He looked upset but when he realized it was Alexandra a warm smile came over his face.

“So you figured it out. I wasn’t sure you would, but he assured me you’d get it.”

She smiled. “Yup!” and she ran off to the tea room.

She ran in, startling the new girl who was in there, and frantically started searching the giant jars and containers of tea looking for the right one.

“Can I help you with something?”

“No. Yes! I am looking for the Earl Grey Crème. It’s our favorite.”

They both started looking, and the girl became as frantic as Alexandra, without really knowing why.

“Got it!” the girl yelled triumphantly, as Mister Hansel sauntered in, smiling. Alexandra grabbed it, turned it around, and sure enough there it was, a post-it.

She started to run out the door when Mister Hansel stopped her.

“Alexandra,” he said. “Take this.” He handed her an old thermos, red plaid, and she felt it was still warm. “Tell him this one’s on me.”

She sat in the car and looked at the post-it.

It was a drawing of a record.

✩✩✩✩✩

And so now she was headed to their record store. Alexandra pulled into the lot and was already heading to the record store, a place where they’d spent hours upon hours looking, listening, and experiencing all kinds of music.

Now the question Alexandra had to ask was, where, in the millions of records and cds did he hide the post-it? She had to think.

Bridgette Bardot. Nope. Belle and Sebastian. No. Maurice Chevalier, Shins, Decemberists, Frank Sinatra, still nothing. She really had to think. But while she was there, she should check for that one that she ALWAYS checked for, in every store, since she’d started collecting records. Claudine Longet. You never know, maybe it would be there.

And it was. With a post-it. She ran up to the counter, and the clerk gave a smile.

“I wasn’t sure you’d find it. He said you would. But I’ve never even seen that record in print before. He must have spent a pretty penny on it.”

“So wait, this isn’t yours?”

“No honey, it’s yours.” The elderly clerk smiled, and Alexandra walked towards the door, checking the post-it as she walked, wondering where else her birthday would take her.

She opened the next post-it.

“Our favorite meal.”

And so she was off again.

✩✩✩✩✩

Kenny was working, and she was glad because the last thing she needed was to ask a stranger for her note.

She ran up to the counter.

“Now I know you’re not here for food, are you.”

She was out of breath and panting. He laughed.

“It’s over there.”

She ran in the direction he was pointing but didn’t see a note. She kept looking around and lifted a blanket that was sitting on a chair. The post-it fell out.

She grabbed it and started walking when Kenny stopped her.

“Hey, don’t forget that. It’s yours.”

She looked back at the blanket, and realized that it was one she’d been wanting for a while from her favorite store, the one he called the hippie store because it always smelled like incense. Alexandra couldn’t help but love that place, it reminded her of her mom, and she missed her mom.

She ran back and grabbed it, took a big whiff, and ran off.

“Have fun!” Kenny yelled.

She waved and ran out, reading the next note.

“I love you.”

This one was easy. And it was one of her favorite places.

✩✩✩✩✩

She pulled into the state park, the place where they went anytime it was nice out. They’d played Frisbee, hiked, flown kites, taken nice strolls along the river, it was a beautiful place. She went right to their favorite path. The next note had to be there.

She grabbed her backpack in case it was a long walk, the thermos Mr. Hensley had given her, and the blanket because she loved the smell and was really missing her mom. She started walking along the river, thinking it was a beautiful day and the next note was probably near this tree where he’d started babbling incoherently, eventually leading up to the best “I love you” she’d ever heard.

She strolled down the path now, relaxed, taking in the beauty of the park, the woods, the trees, the sound of the nearby river so relaxing, and she found the tree with the note stuck to it. She opened it. It said, “I love you,” and she jumped a little, as if the note had spoken, and then realized he was behind her.

She spun around and he grabbed her, she grabbed him, and they held each other as if they’d been apart for years. She backed away and he pushed her hair behind her ear, looked at her, and covered her with small, romantic kisses.

Her knees gave out a little and he was forced to hold on a little tighter, and they both laughed. He took the blanket and started walking. She followed.

He walked up to the huge rock where they’d talked after he admitted his love, requited of course, and he laid out the blanket next to the rock and pulled a picnic basket from the cracks in the boulders. She smiled.

Then he cranked an antique record player they’d found at a yard sale and put out his hand. She reached into her bag and grabbed the record, handing it to him. He started the music and then reached his hand out again for her hand, knowing full well she didn’t need help, but hell, he was a gentleman.

And so they picnicked, sitting on a giant boulder alongside a picturesque river, warm tea from the thermos, and talked until sunset, when they just cuddled on the blanket, stargazed, and he couldn’t help but wonder what the hell he was going to do to top this next year.

Special thanks to Sandra, who took the essence of this story and depicted it with perfection and a professionalism that I find both impressive and admirable.  Please check out her blog and website which I posted links to at the beginning of the story.  Sandra will also be posting many related photographs that I was unable to work into the post, but are beautiful and should be viewed by all.

Early Morning Invite

“Want to go out to brunch?” she asks me as I sip my early morning tea, dreading the idea of cooking yet again.

“Sure!” I am all for it! It was like she read my mind.

“But I don’t like breakfast food.” Um…whaaaaa?

“Then why did you suggest brunch? And this early?”

“I dunno.”

I have to just sit and think. This makes no sense to me. She breaks the silence first.

“How about a coffee shop instead?”

As I weigh the option of making breakfast and then meeting her, verse paying a ridiculous amount for a breakfast sandwich that’s been sitting out all morning, she breaks my train of thought.

“But I don’t drink coffee.”

“Then why…never mind.”

“I like hot chocolate. Do coffee shops have hot chocolate?”

“Probably,” I respond.

This conversation is hurting my brain.

 

Based on a true story.

Flash Fiction Published!

I’m proud to announce a collection of my stories was published in a lovely publication called The Fifteenth Dame Lisbet Throckmorton Anthology:


Click the image to order the book on Amazon. It was an honor to be selected with such beautiful stories and talented writers.

My collection are a bunch of short flash fiction pieces that take place in a coffee shop. There are two sections, Despair and Hope, some of the stories continuing from the Despair section to the Hope section. I’m really excited! Here are a few example flashes:

She removes her hood, as directed.  He wants to see her eyes as she ends it.  She sighs and takes a sip of tea.  He spins his mug of coffee on the saucer, noticing the tiny cracks in the glaze.

~

From above, all that could be seen was two people calmly reading.

From below, all that could be seen was a serious, ongoing foot war.

~

It was their first date, blind at that, and conversation was fairly smooth.  But he knew it would all work out because as she ate her giant marshmallow square, she broke a piece off, rolled it into a bite-sized, mouth-appropriate ball in the palms of her hands, and carefully regarded it between her finger and thumb before popping it into her mouth.

~

She loved sipping the hot rooibos tea but regretted her decision to sit inside on such a nice, clear night.  She looked out the window with an air of regret, but lacked the initiative to move.

 

The Garden Party, 1943

The men all sat to one side, dressed much more casual than their female counterparts, avoiding the talk of new clothing lines and the coupon section of the newspaper.

None of them knew each other, but this was to their liking more than taking part in a garden party. They talked of manly topics such as the new Ford, baseball and work. One of them, a car salesman, tried to convince them they all needed the ’44 that was coming in next week. Another, a soldier on leave, spoke of the war and regaled them with bloody stories full of bullets and bombs and explosions.

They watched from afar as their lady folk drank tea from fancy little cups and ate tiny desserts squeezed between their fingers.

Both sides checked on each other here and there. A husband nodded to his wife from across the ornate garden. A wife smiled and raised a teacup to her husband or pointed out a fancy statue of a cherub. One young woman had a camera and shot a photograph of her husband, the soldier.

It was like a school dance, but they were adults, at a garden party.

Typing on the back of the original photograph.

The Boy in the Tea House

This was her third time in the tea house, but her first alone. The waiter, a senior at her school, had complimented her necklace last time she was there with her grandmother, and she was excited that he even noticed her, let alone talked to her in public.

She wrote his name over and over in a little journal she had.

She talked about him to her best friend.

Her grandmother had even said to her, “What a nice boy he is. Is he a friend of yours?” Which of course caused her to blush.

And now, after weeks of preparing herself mentally, she was back at the tea house, alone. She wore her favorite sundress, pinkish-purple, the necklace again (of course), and carried her money in a heart-shaped purse she’d bought just for the occasion. Also, as an excuse for going alone, she brought an old copy of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn to feign reading.

When she entered the little home-turned-shop, he was by the door.

“Hey you, back again huh? No grandmother this time?”

She giggled, blushed and stammered something she hoped made sense.

“Well, let me show you to your table,” he said with a smile as she swore she noticed a twinkle in his perfect blue eyes.

She was so flustered that she slammed her purse down a bit too hard, the chain going wild.

“What will you have?” he asked.

She already knew her favorite tea, but still took a moment to gain the nerve to talk to him.

“Earl Grey, please.”

He smiled and left her.

She opened the book and tried to read it, but was mostly watching him walk from one spot to the next behind the counter, getting her drink ready. After a few minutes the sound of water boiling warned her of his imminent return.

“Your tea.” He said, holding up the teapot.

She nodded and pretended to read.

“Hello? Would you like it?”

She nodded again, face starting to turn red, wondering what he was doing.

“Um…your purse.”

She looked under the book to see that the chain of her purse had somehow ended up in the teacup, keeping him from pouring the water.

“Oops,” she said, redder than ever, ears burning, as she removed her purse from the table.

She would never, ever, ever in a million years live that moment down.

Heart-Shaped Purse photograph by the amazing Manon De Sutter. This photograph, along with a few of her others, inspired this story. Please check out her work.

An Inexplicable Feeling

He hit start on his record player and watched the little arm get up, move over and gently press the needle against Cat Power’s You Are Free. For some reason this album reflected his mood.

It was a cloudy day, but allegedly it would not rain. It felt like Fall that morning when he woke up, so much so that he had a cup of Irish Breakfast tea with a bit of milk. It hit the spot, as they say.

His stomach had some sort of pit, an inexplicable one, almost foreboding. He did not know why, but his stomach usually knew something he did not know.

The music started and he sat on the couch and picked up the now luke-warm tea. A sip of the liquid sat in his mouth for a moment as he savored it. This was one of his favorite moments. A Sunday morning. A record. Some tea. And yet, he was uneasy.

His neighborhood, usually a hotbed of noise and action on weekends, was absolutely silent, as if everyone had decided to hide in their homes even though it was a perfectly nice day. Nobody mowed their lawn. No children played. Not even a dog barked. A high-pitched noise hit his ears, almost cricket-like, but besides that, nothing save Cat Power’s eerie voice.

He rested his head on a pillow and looked at the ceiling, wondering what today would bring. Would it be surprisingly good, or would the pit be right? He could not wait to find out.

He jumped a bit as the record stopped and the needle abruptly jumped from the record, bringing him back to silence.