Another Cup of Tea
Another Cup of Tea | Flash Fiction
The next morning, it was again raining cats and dogs. There was a nip in the air. The dark rainy clouds were slowly becoming visible because of the twilight behind the mountains.
She was gazing outside the kitchen window, with moist eyes. She didn’t even care to wipe them off and many of them died and dried on the cheeks.
Lost in her thoughts it was the daybreak that made her realise that she had spent the entire night just standing there in the kitchen, fighting a lone battle with her thoughts.
She came to the kitchen around 2 am thinking that her 2 am buddy would ping her. But to her despair, he had not pinged for the last couple of days. ‘I don’t want to disturb him. He is grieving as these are the same days which remind him of the last moments spent with his father’, she consoled herself.
But last night was different. She finally gathered the courage to walk out. And she did. Halfway through the flight of stairs something pricked in her heart. She couldn’t take a step further.
‘I wanted to discuss something urgent with him. I wanted to tell him that his namesake finally decided to sit and discuss the deplorable situation between them. I wanted to seek his advice. If he can convince me to stay, why can’t he convince me to leave,’ she again battled.
A sudden sense of anger grappled her —
She took a few deep breaths and placed the teapot on the stove.
‘How come after 16 long years he had this sudden realization – we aren’t heading anywhere, that this marriage had come to a standstill a long time ago? It is already failing. It has already failed. Did he also speak to my 2 am buddy or has he got someone of his own?’
‘Is my marriage really over? Are the children able to sense it? I can’t let any of this affect them. Coming from a broken family I know what it is to grow up without a parent by your side. I have to protect them from any of this shit. I can never let them go through what I went through.’
‘What made me stop last night? Wasn’t it the only opportunity I was looking for? Why did he give me two options? It took me 15 years to climb down those stairs. 15 long desperate years!! Then why did my feet freeze? Am I too like the elephant and its shackles?’ She was finding it difficult to breathe.
‘Why couldn’t he message me and say leave right now? Even if he said I will still not go to him. I don’t want to add to his baggage. But then where will I go? Is that the fear that jolted me last night? Or was it the fear of not being able to provide for my kids?’
‘Sometimes it feels it would have been a lot easier if I could bring an end to all this. Bring an end to my existence. But I have promised my buddy I will never ever tread that path,’ she reprimanded her thoughts.
‘When did he become such a huge part of my morning ‘me’ conversations? At times I feel he is hiding somewhere in the kitchen and watching me over. In a good way of course. Why can’t I hug him once? Once! Right now! Why can’t he be here to cook his favorite pasta for me,’ her thoughts zigzagged.
The tea was ready. She poured it into a new cup as her mother-in-law broke her favorite one. She found an increase in her sense of irritation by thinking about that broken cup. She took the cup of tea and as always went under the shed on the terrace.
The thunder coming from behind the mountains and the downpour felt as if they echoed her current mental state. Today, the aroma of the tea wasn’t helping either. Since they failed to give any solace to her, they befriended her by pouring it out. The only difference was that hers were salty and theirs were sweet.
‘Shall I just take my kids with me? Will it be fair to the in-laws? Will the world be ok with it? Will I be okay with it? Why does it feel like everything is collapsing? Everything around me, from my life to my world. I was not at all like this. I don’t even know when and why I became like this?’ her loosening grip on the cup reminded her of her cold sweaty palms.
‘The elder one is ready to go. He is ready to accompany me. He said he was willing to find some work and that we would be fine. We will find a way. Somehow,’ the last thought bemused her. Brought a wry smile to her face.
She missed the regular buzz of the phone at this hour of the morning. His good morning would have been enough to give me some hope. She turned around to check whether he was there or not. She finished the last sip of the tea.
‘I wish I could find the courage to some day move to one of these mountains and start my small cafe there. All alone. Naah! I want my buddy to be there. Will he be there? Or is he too lost like me? What if he actually abandons everything and everyone and becomes a wanderer just like he says? What if he abandons me too?’
She closed her eyes. Really tight! And prayed that this thought never finds a seed in her.
‘I wish I was just like these raindrops. It would have been so easy to get lost amongst them and nobody would have been able to find me. Shall I seek some medical attention? I don’t think the situation is that out of control. But I do think we need some relationship counseling. But that too for what? What if things improve from here? Can they ever improve? We have become so distant and have grown so apart over the years that apart from recognising each other’s face we hardly know each other.’
The thoughts were unsettling her as if the previous night’s events weren’t enough.
The doorbell rang. This time the bell saved her.
‘It must be the milkman,’ she murmured to herself. She opened the door. There were two glass bottles full of milk. Just as she was picking it up her gaze went to the stairs.
She shuddered and immediately shut the door.
For all those who battle with their thoughts,
For all those who want to open a cafe in the mountains,
For all those who feel shackled,
For all those who love another cup of tea
It’s not a goodbye,
But it’s a GOOD BYE
Manas ‘Sameer’ Mukul
Have Another Cup of Tea. If you have reached till this point. I would love to know your views in comments on this piece of flash fiction and whether you want me to come up with more of such content.
Banner Image by Helena Lopes