“Close your notebook.”
I put my notebook on sleep mode and sluggishly cleared the table. He turned on the kettle and put two teaspoons of Chinese tea leaves in the pot. I rested my cheek on the table. My eyes darted toward his sturdy back. He is the kind of guy who does everything with purpose, even things as banal as standing and watching the water boil. And there against the kitchen table he rested his back. Purposefully straightening his torso so he stood straight and tall. Not sure why but I am sure there’s a purpose to it. I let my thoughts wander and there would be no purpose to my wandering mind. As I don’t with most things I do.
My mind must’ve drifted a fair bit as he soon pulled up a chair and sat across the table. A pot of brewing tea placed in equidistance from the both of us. Two mugs. Two coasters.
And then it would start.
We would talk. And talk. Unceremoniously blew our tea, sip a bit and then talked some more.
We’d always start the way a bashful seven year old would when they meet new people. Skirting around mommy’s legs while avoiding any eye contact. We’d start picking subjects from the air, a nod to a time in the past when we were all merely faces that came with awkwardly pronounced names to each other. He would then slowly find a way to steer our little bubble into past tales and stories of a non-personal nature. I would divulge what I knew of the state of my home country back in or anything remotely exciting that I’d pick up over the net, for that matter. And he’d go into elaborate diatribes of his own country. History is his playground and I’d gleefully let him reign with my Oohs and Aahs. A misunderstood country full of misunderstood people. Sounds strangely familiar.
And then we’d find ourselves in those prolonged periods sneaking between our intermingled sentences where we’d sip our tea in silence. I would never be sure what went through his mind as he carefully blew the top layer of the tea and gingerly kissed the edge of the mug’s mouth. As for me? To this day, I could still feel this heavy calm slowly descending around me whenever I think about those moments. And then we’d put our mugs back down.
As the mugs butted the coasters, an invisible reset button seemed to thud along. There would be more eyes crinkling at one another as we laughed and gossiped about nobody and everybody at the same time as we projected our own interpretation of our social observations. He always erred on the wise side and I tend to go overdrive on the drama devil-may-care opposite end. We’d meet in the middle as we both reach for the pot of tea, which would somehow be placed closer to my end of the table, as I tend to do with most things in life.
Most nights a week, half an hour at the very least and two at most. I found it quickly to be the kind of comfort you crave on rainy days. And a good dose of rain did the city get.
And on special occasions. Three times to be exact. I would come to the table with my guns loaded ready to shoot away at whoever was willing to take it, though I did consciously wait for tea o clock to start before I unlatched the safety lock.
The first time, there were no talks of weathers. It was started with my chin resting on the table and three words strung with quick inhales. “I am sad.” And so I talked. I heaved. I talked. I sipped my tea. And I talked some more. And he listened and purposefully chased the sadness out of me. The state of the world would smack my head into sense. “Such a first world problem, you have.” And the social reckonings would make me feel less alone. “Let me tell you a story of a girl I…”
The second time, there were no talks of the world. It was started with my eager smile and starry eyes shooting stupidity all over the place. I drenched him with glittery bile of lies of how this time it would be different. And he purposefully took everything in. He started with “Don’t play with stupid” and ended with “Be smart”, even as I left him mid-sentence and marched straight to the lies I’ve willed myself to believe. There were no talks of neither the weather nor gossips.
The third time, there were no gossips. It was started with my cheek resting on the table. And four words laced with pain rising from places I didn’t know existed in me “I want to cry.” He told me not to. But tears don’t have ears. So they made their jailbreak run and I was never the same again. Not without those tears I would.
He sat and let my tears vanished into thin air and he’d look at me with the eyes of an old soul.
He passed me tissues from across the table and reminded me of things I’ve long forgotten. I plastered my cheeks with them and I was reminded of the things in me that I had purposefully covered with lies.
He then told me to sip my tea.
And so I sipped my tea. And we talked some more of the weather and the history of his ill-fated homeland.
And that was the day that the teapot saved me from myself.
Writing Result of Day#3. I was watching a documentary that blasted me to a specific moment in the past. And so I thought about writing a fiction based on that feeling. Not sure how much fiction it turned out to be though. Next writing would have to be all about fiction. As the plan is to write a novel, it’d be probably a good idea if I could stop writing about myself for once…