I could never have imagined that the most common every day drink would have given me the most powerful memories of my life over the past five desperately dark yet life affirming years. A delicious brew that's helped solve all my ailments from heartbreak to the common cold. Pools of mundane beige that have calmed my nerves and anxieties and provided swells of strength and encouragement in the lonely dark hours. A helpful aid that has given me the most eclectic, fluorescent of conversations and in so many instances brought me back from the depths of despair. The truest and most simple gift of companionship and my dearest friend whatever the weather. A cup of tea.
We lay in bed every morning drinking tea and discussing what adventures we had planned for the new day ahead. Plans would be made, dinner menus argued over, lists written and all the world's problems would be solved in intricate detail in one mugs sitting. Brightly patterned pillows and hand woven blankets acted as our office furniture as we drew up charts and plans, mapping out our future together, one continent at a time. It was a tradition that we kept going up until but not including the morning he went into hospital and never came back to bed again.
Walking into a heavy silent house lit by golden waving glass shadows, one full cup of tea sat on the kitchen counter. It was the cup of tea he never finished when we rushed into hospital two days before. Stale, cold and miserable it had spent 48 hours unaware of its fate. The first act of my new life was to pour the cup of tea away before being suffocated by a bleak cloak of misery and sadness. No drink could solve the immeasurable pain and anguish that I was experiencing, not even wine or gin. Despite this, I kept my long-standing tea drinking tradition going, I had to do something.
Some days, drinking tea was my only source of exercise, both mentally and physically. It was now the only constant in my new life of uncertainty. The great unknown that lay ahead of me always seemed less bleak after a cup of tea, for a few fleeting minutes I could pretend I was happy. For weeks and months my hands still reached for two cups, my ten fingers hadn't caught up with the harsh reality that I was having to face every day. Grief hadn't affected them, not yet anyway. My hippocampus was yet to acknowledge and fully process this new reality. All my every day activities were soon to be banished to memory. I longed and ached for my househusband to return and lie in bed with me and drink tea. These beautiful daily activities that I took for granted and didn't fully appreciate were now destined to be shelved in my neural network as intangible far away memoirs.
One unassuming Friday, I received a text message. My phone lit up with enthusiastic promise. That was a rarity those days; by this point most people had gone back to their normal lives. I was left feeling dark shades of blue, jobless and bored with sorrow as my best pal. After much convincing and the promise of tea and biscuits, I journeyed from my bat cave of doom across town, sunglasses and headphones on, head down, to the warm indulgent embrace of a person with sympathetic ears and incredibly comfy shoulders.
A disco of conversing commenced. I laughed till my stomach ached, I smiled, I spoke with my hands, I had energy and lust in my belly and giggled profusely as my knight in shining armor battled my grief and sadness aside with humor, compassion and kindness. They were victorious, for an hour, I was happy. This simple act had saved me. The electronic message that had had lit up my phone had ignited something deep within my core; a fire that had been put out months previous was beginning to softly glow. I was coming back to life again.
It is such a simple act, but to someone so desperately lost and sad, it provided the best source of warmth and comfort. I can remember all the kindest cups of tea I've been made since. Instances where I have been so somber and the simple gesture of another human providing me with this miracle cure has made me realise - I am not alone.
The cup of tea I travelled four hours to have with my dearest friend.
The cup of earl grey in a pristine patterned teacup with lemon and a beautiful blue-eyed sleepy smile on the side.
The peppermint tea with encouragement, home truths and the words 'I'm proud of you' in a badly painted kitchen.
The cup of tea with toast, honey and sensible scientific words.
The cup of tea with added spider attack and much hilarity.
The cups of tea where the maker always ran out to buy me soya milk despite not even drinking tea, it makes them fart.
The many cups of tea with outrageous gossip and giggling (and kilos of cake.)
The cups of tea I have alone, when I am perfectly happy and content, in my living room thinking how lucky and loved I am.
The cups of tea my Nana makes me, every single one.