She couldn’t do it anymore, she couldn’t drink them, rate them or comment on them. She couldn’t go to their cafes; she couldn’t have biscuits with them and she couldn’t do her job. Why? Because of this imprudent pandemic
As her arm wheeled back, she ran forward and threw the rock as far as possible. Gliding across the bed, the rock skids forward and gets pulled down by his friends into the foam laced waters. No amount of throwing could diminish the pain felt by Emily Gilmore; the overwhelming emotion was excruciating but essential. Her heart has been lost; first Richard and now her job, her world was slowly falling apart.
Memories. These were the sole things she had left; and even these were not adequate for her to regenerate. Memories of her running on the farm; through the plants. The intoxicating smell would submerge her mind and whisper secrets, stories and schemes. Yorkshire: this is the place of her childhood, this is her abode; this is where her dream came from; but that dream is no longer real, it has evaporated just like her ecstasy.
She longed for it: Tea. She craved the relishing aroma bouncing in her mouth; going into the tip of her tongue causing her to salivate; she missed all of it and longed for it to come back, she wanted to go to cafes and review their infusions but she couldn’t.
Going past the café she saw it: the sign that said ‘Tea Town’; this was her 50th café of the year. She remembered that day like the back of her hand.
“Can I have one strawberry bubble tea” asked Emily; she knew it was their speciality because this used to be her café; before she became a Tea Taster; and gave it away to Sookie, the Tea Sommelier.
Penetrating her body, a peculiar brown herb-brew scent engulfed her mind and swarmed her nostrils. Dainty cups and saucers of egg-shell china were grouped about it, cream pots and souvenir spoons held up the sugar, but something wasn’t right, something was unfitting. But this was Sookie; nothing could be improper.
Sipping the tea, she gently took in the hot PUTRID taste; this was appalling. They had made it too sweet; this wasn’t like Sookie to do such a thing. The strawberry taste was saccharine and devastatingly disgusting.
“Where is the Tea Sommelier” demanded Emily.
“At the back” replied the waiter.
“I would like to speak to them” ordered Emily.
“Do they know you?” questioned the waiter.
“Yes, tell them I am the Tea Taster Queen” she answered; just as she said that the waiter looked flabbergasted. “I think you know me as well, be fast I don’t have all day.”
Crashing into the table, the waiter ran at full speed leaving a massive grin on Emily’s face. Well, he definitely knew who I was thought Emily.
Coming out from the back, a ginger haired man appeared; his curled-up moustache made him resemble the Go Compare guy; but this wasn’t Sookie. So, who was it then?
“Good Afternoon, I was wishing to speak to Sookie St. James” questioned Emily.
“Miss, I am afraid to tell you that Sookie is now in London; she is the head chef at a restaurant, I am Mark, the Tea Sommelier.”
Emily was baffled, yes, she was. Her biggest mistake was that she thought people cared for her as much as she does for them; no one likes her, yes NO-ONE; even though she loves them they don’t love her. Sookie didn’t call or even tell her that she was going away and that hurt Emily; that hurt Emily a lot. It hurt her because Sookie mattered to her.
“Can I help you with anything” asked Mark.
“Yes, I have some complains about this tea; first of all, it is too sweet; too sweet is an understatement; because this bubble tea is sickly sweet...”
“Yes ma’am, I will get that sorted out for you” replied Mark.
“I WASN’T FINISHED!” roared Emily “you should’ve done it better the first time; furthermore, when I got it, it was room temperature and you should know that bubble tea should be either piping hot or ice cold.”
“Sorry, I will get you a replacement right away.”
“There will be no need for that; I shall go and give my review” said Emily.
“Everyone makes mistakes and everyone deserves a second chance. Please stay…” replied Mark.
Without even hearing his words she left the café; she couldn’t remain there; it reminds her too much of Sookie. She knew that she had been too harsh but she couldn’t do anything about it now; in her defence the bubble tea was absolutely atrocious.
Looking into the café she saw the sign:
Closed due to lockdown
Even though she was seeing this every day in different cafes it still managed to wound her somehow. Throbbing with pain, her heart started beating but with every alternate thump it knocked over a chunk of her cheerfulness.
As she walked down the road into an alleyway; she remembered the conversation that she had with her daughter
Whispering in her ear Lorelai – her daughter – was telling her the solution to her problem of not being able to go and test teas; and Emily thought that it was a fabulous idea.
Walking through the alleyway; Emily was overwhelmed with joy. The alleyway of softly reflecting sunbeams forever in the golden hour, be it dawn, noon or evening light. A hug of houses stands as if sentries to the alleyway.
Coming out of the alleyway, her heart skipped a beat and she saw them: yes, she did, she saw all of them all holding pots of tea for her to test; all wearing masks and standing 2 meters away from each other. There was Mark holding a new recipe of bubble tea for Emily to try. Sipping the bubble tea from the plastic cup, it flowed down her throat tremendously, it was sweet but not too sweet and was piping hot; in fact, it was the best bubble tea she ever tasted.
There she was: Sookie: her best friend, with speckles of tears glistening in her eyes.
“I’m so sorry Emily” said Sookie “I should’ve told you, but I thought that you wouldn’t care.”
“I do care; I always care about you” said Emily and hugged Sookie.
Acknowledging everyone, Emily rated their teas; some were Ginger teas, Chamomiles, Mint teas, and her favourite: Earl Grey Tea; which is also drank by the Royal Family.
Even though it’s not as good as being in the café it was a good compromise. Tea testing is art and art is something to be able to compromise for.
After all tomorrow is another day and who knows what tomorrow will bring.