“Make us a cup of tea love.”
It’s always the same, my lazy tosser of a husband shouting through to me in the kitchen to make him a cup of tea. As if I’m not busy enough doing everything else in this house whilst he sits in front of the television watching sports or some other inane rubbish that anyone with half a brain wouldn’t touch with a barge pole.
I switch the kettle on. At least when it boils it will mean I won’t be the only object in the kitchen with steam coming out of every orifice. I open the tea caddy and gingerly pick up one of the stinking tea bags by the corner and drop it into the cup, touching as little of it as I possibly can.
Have I mentioned I hate tea? I hate the smell; it makes me want to gag. I tasted some by accident as a kid. I thought it was going to be coffee. Only to get a mouthful of foul-tasting tea. I did the only sane thing at the time and spat the mouthful back out, covering my Aunt Jemima’s floral covered rocking chair and her spiteful little black cat who was sat in it. Blackie (I never said my family were imaginative) shot out of the chair, across the room, through the cat flap and out onto the rain-soaked lawn behind the house to roll in the wet grass in his desperation to get the foul-smelling liquid off its fur. Perhaps he wasn’t as stupid as he looked. To me, the Boston Tea Party was a great idea, chuck as much of the foulness into the sea as possible would be the best way forward for us all.
Anyway, back to making this tea. There is a certain irony in the fact that I’m the only person in our house who doesn’t drink tea, yet I’m the only person who ever seems to make it. Old lazy bones drinks it, the kids drink it, our parent do when they visit, in fact, everyone who has ever stepped foot inside our little house wants a cup of tea. I’m sure that somewhere out there on the outside of the house, hidden from my sight, is a little sign that says, “Welcome to Lisa’s Tea Rooms.” I can’t stand the stuff and I’m the only bloody idiot here that makes it.
The kettle finishes boiling, and I get ready to tip the scalding water onto the horrible little bag and its nasty little leaves within. I stop and trudge to the fridge to get the milk. Now, it may seem that adding water is the easy bit. You add hot water to the tea bag and leave it for an indeterminate length of time and then take the bag out. It is easy but it isn’t always simple. Some people want it so it ends up as a pale colour, so much so I think it looks like urine. Whereas others want the tea bag leaving in for what seems like a month until it resembles a pool of water at midnight on a moonless night.
But those people are a walk in the park compared to the fussiness that abounds when milk is added.
“Just a splash of milk please love” the lazy git says.
Seriously, how much is just a splash? I’ve tried everything from nearly half a pint down to little more than a teaspoonful, but I don’t think I’ve ever got it right. It’s always too much or too little. Perhaps the effing perfectionist might like to get his lazy backside out of the chair and do it himself. But no, that might involve him having to do something. The kids are just as bad. No one ever says thank you. It’s all criticism. It’s like living with the complete collection of The Times’ food critics.
And then there’s the sugar.
“One- and three-quarter spoons please love.”
Seriously, what the hell is three quarters of a spoon. How is that different from a full spoon or half a spoon. Does a quarter of a spoon really make it taste any different? I’ve tried. Lord knows I’ve tried, but there is always a complaint. It’s too sweet, or there isn’t enough sugar in here.
Well, I’ve had enough. I think it is time I put a stop to this ridiculousness for once and for all. I’ve realised that it doesn’t matter how I make the damn tea. How long I leave the teabag in for. How much milk I add. Or how much sugar is spooned into it. I’ve tried every combination there is over the last twenty years or so, and it’s never good enough.
So, this is the last tea I’m going to make. The lazy git can moan as much as he likes about this, it’s going to be the last one the moaning idle sod is ever going to drink. A dash of strychnine in with the tea bag, a touch of arsenic in with the milk, and some botulinum sprinkled in with the sugar.
I don’t want to know what it tastes like. It doesn’t matter. Because the other thing I have learnt about tea over the years is this. No matter how much anyone moans about the taste, the strength, the colour, or the sweetness of their tea, they will drink it regardless. Despite the complaining, deep down they are all still too polite to not actually drink it.
And so, it is done now. The tea of many poisons is made. I’ve stirred it and thrown the spoon away. I don’t want to be accidentally picking up any traces of what is on that. And when the lazy git has drunk the tea, the mug is going in the bin as well. No one should be drinking out of it again. No matter how well it gets washed out. Just the one death from the mug will do me. That will already be enough to get me a long prison sentence as it is.
I take the tea in to the lounge and place it next to his chair. I plonk myself down on the sofa to watch him drink it.
And I wait.
He doesn’t drink it immediately. It sits there for longer than I would expect it to. Does he usually leave it this long before drinking it? I’m beginning to feel nervous now. Should I rush over and take the mug and throw it away? Stop being stupid. But as I twitch to get up and do so he picks the mug up and takes a big gulp. He looks down at the mug and smiles and takes another big swig.
I take a deep breath and ask him.
“How’s your tea?”
“Perfect thanks love. However, you’ve made this you should be doing the same whenever you make a cup of tea. It’s the best cup of tea I’ve ever tasted.”
I start to cry. I could have saved myself years of slights and barbs if I had poisoned that first cup of tea I made for him. I would have served my sentence and been a free woman now instead of facing twenty years in prison.
Instead, I watch the lazy git’s expression change and his face contort as the poisons take effect, and take his life, after drinking the only cup of tea I made him he never complained about.