The cup of tea sat on the table, patiently waiting for her lips to touch his. He knew it would be a while. His steam had already run out. He sat there cold and still. Waiting and watching.
She must have had a bad night. Again. Her morning had started late. He watched as the children kept running to the room asking to be fed. He thought he heard her roar or maybe that was the truck that drove by outside. She emerged with a grimace, eyes squinting. The light hitting her hard.
Like an automated machine she opened the cupboard to pull out two bowls and placed them on the counter. Next, she opened the fridge and grabbed the milk. She let the fridge door slam, a magnet from it dropped to the floor. She did not pick it up. Shuffling her feet, she made her way to the pantry and picked up the box of cereal closest to her. Her daughter started to complain that she did not want that kind. Her mother gave her a look. It was enough to silence her mid-sentence. Once the cereal and milk had been combined into the children’s individual bowls, she placed them clumsily on the table. Drops of milk fell to the floor. She did not wipe it. On cue her children scurried towards their seats. They looked like squirrels hungry for days. They ravaged their bowl without once peeling their eyes away from the television.
Seeing as they were preoccupied, she returned to the kitchen. She picked me up from the counter and brought me closer to the stove. I watched as she gathered the small saucepan, her favourite to cook the tea, water and milk in. She ground cardamom and ginger and threw it into the pan along with some clove. Ah she must be feeling a cold coming on. When she pulled out the bottle of honey that confirmed it.
With baited breath I waited for the tea to brew. She momentarily disappeared to her bedroom. I watched as the tea mixture started to froth. Gathering speed, it rose to the top. She still had not returned. I wish I had a whistle to grab her attention. It was too late, in horror I witnessed the tea bubble over and spill onto the stove. Oh dear I thought. Oh fuck I head her cry. She reappeared in time to move the saucepan away. She managed to salvage most of the tea. The smell of burnt milk wafted through the air.
But no matter, the best part of my day was about to begin. After straining the tea, she poured the hot beverage into me. I steamed with satisfaction. My purpose almost complete. She grabbed me by the handle and cradled me close, tentatively moving her lips towards mine. She blew a gentle kiss and took a sip. I was in heaven. And it seemed so was she. We stood there together for what seemed like eternity. Her eyes closed, she held me in a warm embrace. Alas it was not to last for long. She opened her eyes and glanced at the clock. The serenity in her face vanished. She put me down on the table and began yelling instructions to her children. Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go- was their morning mantra. Hurry, hurry, hurry. She cried. Brush your teeth. Change your clothes. Grab your shoes. These were the words I knew all too well. It was the price she had to pay for our stolen moment.
I watched as they rushed out, slamming the door shut. Left alone with silence, I sat there on the table. The warmth starting to fade. She’ll be back, I reassured myself. Through stolen moments we will be together again.