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Contemporary Drama Sad

We have too much tea.

At one point, I thought that I'd be like one of those women who has a cute little place for everything. I bought a wooden tea box on Amazon that had places for eight types of tea. You could see each type from the window on top. The box reminded me of the one at the bed and breakfast that my husband Carl and I stayed at when we were getting married four years ago. I imagined offering it to all of our visitors and how excited they might be to see our whole collection in one neat little box. 

"Wow, Grace really has it together," they'd say to each other later.

The counter is now completely littered in tea. Loose leaf, Red Rose, all the rejects that couldn't fit inside that box. I try to pawn off tea on Carl every chance I get. When he's "not in a tea mood", I try not to let my annoyance show. I need to offload all the extras on him in case we actually get visitors one day.

I wouldn't want them to think I'm a hoarder.

Sometimes I don't ask him if he wants a tea. I just put the mug down beside him. Today was one of those days.

He already had a Coke so he was forced to down the rest of the can in order to drink the tea while it was still hot. He tried to give me an appreciative smile. There was nothing for him to do about the situation now. The tea was made.

"I was thinking of ordering one of those Tea from Around the World kits," he said, slurping down the steaming mango ginger. Beads of tea hung in his blonde mustache.

Carl and I do not normally agree on tea. He likes his fruity and without milk.

I like it spicy or nutty and sometimes with milk. Sometimes. 

"We already have too much tea," I said. I could hear my online book club friends screaming, there's no such thing as too much tea!

Except there is. 

"True," he agreed. "We do have a lot of tea."

There was a silence that followed which I didn't know how to fill. I wondered if he was disappointed. Maybe he'd been looking forward to the teas from around the world. It would be something new to try together.

"We could get it," I offered. 

"No, you're right. We have so much and nowhere to put it all." 

"Well, maybe once we move, we can have an entire tea cupboard," I said. 

"Yeah. That would be good."

"And one of those walls with all the hooks on it where you can hang all your mugs. We also have too many mugs." I stood in front of him, twisting my fingers in my hoodie pockets and digging at lint.

"I like that idea." Carl raised his eyebrows and nodded. "That way we could see them all better."

"When do you think we should start on the renovations? It would be good to get out of here finally."

We'd been discussing moving for three years. This might be my chance to get the ball rolling. I was running out of ideas to try to motivate him to replace the flooring and patch up the walls. The house would never sell in it's current state.

Living in the middle of nowhere offered us no chances to meet anyone else our age and even our family members didn't want to make the drive. For four years, I'd been stuck in the house in the middle of the woods, stocking up on tea and mugs.

"Soon," he said vaguely. He took another long, slow sip. 

Soon was always the answer. 

Before I knew it, I had stormed back into the kitchen. I could feel my heart thudding against my chest.

Soon. Soon. Soon.

I thought about the life waiting for me outside the kitchen door, down the road, outside of the woods and the tree line and the freeway. The life everyone else I knew was living.

I looked at the counter, suddenly feeling watched by the multiple bags and boxes and wheels of tea. Sleepytime had it's lid half open as if inviting me to brew a bag, have a nap, and forget all my problems.

Tension Tamer stood triumphantly on top of the wooden tea box and dared me to try to reach for any other tea before it.

Calming Chai leaned against the coffee maker in an obviously fraudulent desire to try not to look judgmental.

Starting with these, I began lobbing teas into the garbage. In the process, I knocked over several other boxes. Some hit the floor and died instantly, dramatically turning their faces from view.

Others spilled their contents in a messy spectacle of loose-leaf and spices.

I grabbed for the Movie Night Tea, shaking its contents into the garbage. Some of it landed inside of the cannister, but some fell on the white kitchen tile. The smell of popcorn and butter and black tea was repulsive.

"What are you doing?" Carl asked from behind me. 

"Why do we even need all of these? Who's going to drink them?" My voice trembled as I tried to sound both reasonable and angry.

I discovered it's not easy to master both at the same time, which made me feel even more irate.

"Us..?" His said uncertainly, maintaining a distance. He stood on the boundary line between the kitchen and the living room.

I crunched the Red Rose box still half full of unlabeled bags into the garbage - not even bothering to recycle. I found myself furiously reveling in my recklessness. 

"So that's the plan. Stay out here in the woods and drink tea alone until we die. Is that it!"

"I never said that."

"It's been four years."

"We've had a lot going on."

"Like what?"

Carl approached the crime scene and set his empty mug down on the counter. It annoyed me how gently he did it. Like this conversation didn't have an emotional impact on him the same way it did for me. "You know what."

I felt tears threatening to burn down my cheeks. I wouldn't be reduced to tears over tea. I couldn't. I felt my sanity slipping. Afterall, who cries over having too much tea? Was it about the tea at all?

"I'll put the kettle on," he said.

January 13, 2022 21:47

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22:52 Jan 20, 2022

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