After my best friend got divorced, she decided she needed a hobby.
In a marriage one can either afford a husband or a hobby, she surmised. Since she didn’t have any need for the former at the moment, she settled on the latter.
So, she became a tea collector.
Tisanes, profusions, white, black, green. Sencha. Bombay cutting. Anything. Everything. During her trip to America, she warred with a barista who insisted she try a chai tea latte. A phrase that contained the words chai & latte deserved hara-kiri.
Recently, after a bout of PTSD-induced depression left me with severe agoraphobia, she marshalled our closest friends into forming a niftily trained platoon who visited me with hot meals & ice cream buckets on the basis of a pre-determined calendar.
Like a deftly summoned deity, she appeared with a thermos of ginger tea because she knows I have inherited my mother’s addiction to milky Indian chai.
One morning she landed at my door with a package of peach momotaro artisan tea. It is a white floral variety with the slightest hint of peach. I don’t particularly love peach but I had become a pilgrim of flowering teas during my time at the University. They are often relegated to the “pretty tea” category but I admire the craft of creating a hand-tied flowering tea and love to watch the chrysalis of a slow sunrise bloom emerge from inside the cocoon of that betel-nut shaped ball of marigold. We stood against the tourmaline-tinted marble shelves in my kitchen and watched the dull transparency of tap water transform itself into something that mirrored the ocean bed.
The tea bloomed and I smiled for the first time in a long time.
We didn’t ice or sweeten it; the taste of peach softening our tongues with its faint lilt. Before leaving she picked up one of the tea bundles and reminded me not to shake it too much because it could loosen the seed pocket.
That evening I stepped out of my apartment alone, went for a walk and bought myself two white lilies.