Written for the Trifecta Writing Challenge: Week Eighty-Six.
Tea for Two
Three tea bags left in the canister, and I’ve already had two pots today. Extravagant. Harley would’ve watched me fill the kettle the third time with his face knotted into the mournful kitten expression he’d sport when he disapproved of something I did. Toward the end he looked more like one of those scrawny, wrinkled bald cats than a mournful kitten.
Stretching those three tea bags through the weekend is going to be a challenge, but I’m all about the immediate gratification. Always have been. Self-indulgent, my mother said. Selfish.
Harley, possibly the least self-indulgent, selfish man on earth, would make his soulful kitten face and try to teach me patience by example. Fifty years of Harley modelling appropriate behaviour, and I still whip through the groceries like the cupboard’s on fire rather than ration them until the pension cheque arrives.
I pour the brewed tea into the chipped turquoise mug I gave Harley on his thirty-fifth birthday, the mug he used every day until he couldn’t swallow any more and they hooked him up to those infernal tubes and machines and god knows what all at the hospital.
The news guy with the face like boiling porridge is interviewing a lady who’s homeless now because her barbecue went nuts on her and exploded. The lady’s eyes start to get blurry and wet, and I grab the remote.
It’s hard to predict what’s safe. The smallest things have tripwires. Ladies with exploding barbecues, the first crocuses of spring, the sound of the neighbour’s schnauzer howling when she leaves in the morning. One minute I’m sitting on the couch watching the news guy, and the next minute I feel the crack in the calm, feel rage wild as a tornado howling on the other side.
I flip the TV over to Maury. Nothing’s going to fix the hole that Harley left, but there’s nothing like a cup of tea and a good dose of stupid for helping me jump over it one more time.