Thursday, December 3, 2009

Afternoon Tea Party

There was jasmine, rosebud, golden osmanthus, almond rooibos, and several other pretty tea selections before me. I've already asked the lady which cake she recommends and she suggested the cake I ordered the last time I came here.

"Whats the next best?"

I was determined to try something else, to surprise my taste buds, just something, anything new. Afterall, this is why I plucked myself out of the center of the universe (Cubao, my temporary residence) and very quickly flung myself to this part of town, a place of variety and flavors.

"Try the lemon walnut cake and tell me which you like best."
She looks up at me with a smile then heads back to the counter.

I haven't selected my tea yet. On top of the counter and on 2 more wooden dividers was where the tea sat and looked pretty, each clear glass jar promising some truth, wisdom, and magic.

"Would you like something relaxing? Try lavander, chamomile, or jasmine. We can also add some mint."

I picked rosebud with mint.

"Which would you like stronger, the rosebud or the mint? Both are quite strong."
She seemed to dissaprove of my selection then very quickly said, "Rosebud is truly relaxing though." In my mind I said, "Of course, I like it strong. I like it particular like that. Just the way I like my coffee black."

And like a threatened porcupine, spikes went spiky and then I caught myself, embarassed like a kid realizing how stupid it is to be throwing a tantrum over nothing. I can be such an extremist sometimes. Extreme measures, deadlines, decisions, kamikaze leaps into the unknown and/or doing the "battering ram" with my head against the wall of the known. I smiled and sat on my couch. Unloaded my bag (also known as the office) and set up some kind of scientific apparatus on the dining table. There it was and I was almost ready. Just waiting for the magic to arrive.

The cake was divine. It was everything I could never have thought of having before the kind lady suggested it. The tea was excellent, suprisingly. The mint melded with my throat and made nice exhales while the rosebud colored the air pink.

It was perfect like a nice short story but soon as I look back at the table, where all my equipment sat and looked back at me awaiting their turn to be useful, it was over. And as soon as it was over, a list of "To Do's" wrapped its thorned vines around me, squeezing all the air out exactly the way a python would do to its prey.

I look up at the dividers with its tea sitting pretty, looking for some consolation, half-hoping to make space in my stomach for another slice of cake (knowing full well that another slice would infintely ruin my divine memory of it). There is no exit and running away with cake and afternoon tea parties only extends the suffering. This is certain. This is the kind of certainty that can only be backed by experience.

Almost 5 hours into the tea. Nothing has changed apart from the curve on my back, now significantly bent from writing. The sun has descended and soon it will be like it was last night, contemplating tomorrow and how it can be different - or should i say, how can it be different?


ozjthomas said...

You have a nice writing style.
Thanks for the continued updates on the travels. It sounds very interesting.
I once went to a tea house. I like roobios. I can smell it now.

Francesco Conte said...

We should make a tv show called 'The office' .. about the traveling of your bag :)


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