Melissa started the electric tea kettle. Washing the clay from her hands and forearms knowing the pot on her wheel will have to wait. This ceramic potter needed some time. She pulled out the souvenir bag of Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Pu Erh of tea. Oh, what memories she thought. The tenmoku ceramic mug she just finished firing which seemed like the perfect tea cup for a morning like today. There were may ceramic projects and orders waiting but now seemed like a time for tea and thoughts that were spinning through her head.
The phone rang the riff of Ric Ocasek, it was Mari. Melissa answered.
“Hey, let's get away and take a trip", said Mari.
“For how long? Wait, are you crazy, I can’t get away, my kids, work, it’s nearly impossible.”
Melissa remembered when Mari went to the Galapagos Islands with her partner and the year before that Iceland. There were so many trips she talked about like Germany, Iguana Falls, Hawaii, and Sao Palo. When Mari went to Iceland, Melissa asked her to bring back some Icelandic yarn to knit something with. Mari had looked all over Iceland for the yarn and was successful in finding it in between soothing hot spring baths, volcanic hiking trips to see the colliding colorful lights of the aurora borealis and finding oral pleasure in the numerous gourmet seafood dishes served. Melissa and Mari loved adventure.
"Why not go with Saanvi?" Melissa asked.
"It’s time we go on another adventure, it's been so long," Mari said.
“There is no way I can get away, I am deep in mud, literally, I have 10 plus orders past due full dish-ware, the ceramic class on Tuesday and Thursdays, the installation at the museum and not to mention the children.”
She recalled when the children had fallen asleep and were 3 years old, still recovering from being premature. It was difficult to leave them, they feel like part of her, they always will she thought.
Well, if you don’t ask, you’ll never know. And by the way, I already talked to Jonny, he knows what I am up to!” said Mari.
“You are so, so, awesome, you are my best friend!” said Melissa.
Mari and Melissa met in college. Sitting on the steps smoking a cigarette. Mari sat next to her and said, that makes you look ugly, put that out. I did, I don’t know why, I guess vanity was part of my image in college. I was a pretty woman and liked to have fun. Mari said, lets go for a hike sometime, and that’s how it all started. Local hikes, dog hikes, 4000 foot hikes, weekend backpack trips and it goes on.
Mari met Saanvi at a hospital on one of their adventure hiking the huts on the Appalachian trail. Mari’s partner Saanvi thought Mari was crazy. Saanvi and Mari had a tenuous relationship at times. They fought and made up constantly. They had a passionate relationship.
Mari would do anything for her friends especially Saanvi and Melissa. It was like that since they became friends over 25 years ago. They had been through many relationships and travels together and had so many stories to share about their adventure. That was before Melissa got married and had children.
Melissa fell in love with Jonny the minute she saw him. His demure boylike innocence and was tall as a glass of water. It just made her want to drink the water. She got every river stream and ocean! They talked about the life they would spend together and the children they would have. It all seemed so perfect. Until the pregnancy at 20 weeks.
They were born premature and the pregnancy was difficult. Jonny, her husband was so supportive and in love with the babies before they were born, they both were. Premature births at 30 weeks were one thing, but the difficult part was the pregnancy itself.
Preclampsia, a condition that can cause high blood pressure and and can damage the liver and kidneys usually starting after 20 weeks into the pregnancy. Melissa was carrying twins. Her liver and kidney functions started to fail at week 20 of the pregnancy but was manageable according to the obstetrician. Dr. Jonet tested her laboratory results weekly and at week 28 said bedrest. For someone who hiked everyday and did yoga. Skied and biked when not pregnant, being still was one of the most difficult things to do.
At week 14 in the pregancy, Mari came to visit and Melissa. A winter yurt trip was planned to Galena lodge in Idaho with Jill, Shawni, and Cody. Off they went for 3 nights and 4 days into the winter bliss of the Sawtooth mountains. The snow started to fall on the drive. Mari pulled over to get some Hostess powdered sugar donettes that Melissa craved her whole pregnancy(along with brussel sprouts). The rest of the trip was cross country skiing on fresh powdered trails along the North wood river with the sun glistening on the ice covered trees. They sat in the Galena lodge eating freshly baked french fries and sipping on herbal tea. Mari had a glass of ginger liquor.
Melissa was always ready for an adventure. Recalling that one day Mari had called and said, “Hey, let’s get away and take a trip.” New Mexico was a whirlwind tour when the children were 3 years old.
They arrived in Albuquerque and decided to drive the whole state. Driving south to the White Sands National park to gather some sand to sprinkle on my art work and hike of course. Then to the depths of Carlsbad Canyon to feel the mystery of the darkness and the sacredness below the earth. They drove north to really get a feel for the cowboy culture along Billy The Kid Scenic Byway. Off to Santa Fe. Oh, that teahouse. The most tantalizing tea, especially the Vintage Oak Barrel Aged Pu Erh.
Today, the new year has started, 2020.
Melissa thought, one day alone in the house, what a gift! It rarely happens anymore now that the girls are 11 years old. The children are at school and then off to soccer practice with friends. Jonny is at work and still a tall glass of water!
Alone for eight hours, what a gift of solitude and quiet. Melissa starts the new electric kettle to make a cup of tea. Pulling down the tenmoku mug she made years ago, she looks at the date on the bottom, 2003. The water boils exactly 195 degrees and pours it over the Vintage Oak Barrel tea. Thinking of the days past sipping on her Pu Erh tea from the Teahouse in Santa Fe, the phone rings the riff of Ric Ocasek.
“Hey, let’s get away and take a trip”, said Mari.
“So, where are we off to now?”