Seems Like Old Times
You’ve barely touched your tea.
Earl gray, black with one and a half teaspoon sugar. You know I could make that drink in my sleep, or even when I’m drunk. One teabag, sugar thrown in quickly, served warm, with a biscuit on the side. You purse your lips and flex your fingers. I ask if the tea’s okay. You stare at the end table, nodding to the wind. I sip my coffee, it with three shots of cream and two teaspoons of sugar. You take a spoon and absentmindedly stir at your tea. A drop spills off the cup and falls on your hand. Your eyes squint and your mouth opens to an absent shout of pain. Instinctively, I grab a napkin and hold your hand, wiping it off. Your hand shudders. I stare at your bitten nails. My eyes move up; you quickly look away, cheeks reddening. I let go of your hand, humming ever too casually. I drink my coffee, strong yet sweet. You take your cup and lift it to your paling lips. You open your lights the slightest way, the china barely grazing your chin, tilting its body, the hot black liquid flowing to your mouth, tiny specks dripping down the edge. You gulp your drink and put your cup down. Your eyes are clenched shut, your mouth a thin line. Both your hands rest on the table. I lean forward, raise my hand, and gently dry off your mouth.
“I could’ve sworn I mixed it right,” I whisper.
You open your eyes. You hold my hand. You put it down. Your lips move the weird way it always does when you’re smiling but you don’t want to show it. “You did,” you say. “But I don’t drink tea anymore.”
I put my hand over yours. “Silly you. Then why’d you ask me to tea?”
For the first time in a long time, I saw your teeth, stretched in the way I’ve always remembered it. The way it was when I woke up beside it. The way it was when it approached me for a kiss. The way it was when I cracked a joke. “My, isn’t it obvious?” you say.
We don’t talk anymore that afternoon. We hold hands, smile, and stare. And the coffee and tea grow colder and colder.
This is the 100 Songs Project, a 100-day writing challenge based on AFI’s 100 Years…100 Songs. Every day, I write a short poem, prose piece, or play based on, reacting to, rejecting, accepting, or doing something related to one of the songs in the top 100 list.
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- Deelaytful: Season Two (deelaytful.wordpress.com)
- Let the River Run (deelaytful.com)
- Long Ago (and Far Away) (deelaytful.com)