Cup of Tea

10 March 2013 in 20 Minute Stories

* Note, this story needs a little something, but at this point I’m not quite sure what. Maybe a little more beginning and ending, maybe it has too much middle?  I’m not sure.  Feedback is encouraged.  Enjoy!

Jack set the big tea pot down on the counter just as the whistle on the kettle started to blow.  He was definitely going to need the big tea pot to figure this one out.

He threw two bags of jasmine green tea into the tall beige teapot and hung his head shamefully for a moment, wondering just how it was that he let things get this far.  He never intended for things to get this far, but sometimes they just happened.

Jack poured in the boiling water from the kettle and watched as it started to change colour.  He loved just watching as the cloud of tea emerged from the bag, starting to infuse with the rest of the water.  Today it helped him, if only for a moment, forget that there was someone in his bed right now.  Someone who was going to need his attention long before he was finished this pot of tea.

Curtis, a coworker of Jack’s at the soda factory, had come by a few hours before.  Jack always felt nervous when Curtis was around him.  He was so much smarter than Jack, and often used that to tease him about his job performance, his clothing, his lunch.  There were times when Curtis could be the most helpful person in the world, but those times were usually followed by snide comments that Curtis figured Jack was too slow to understand.  And maybe sometimes he was, but they still hurt all the same.

Jack pondered for a moment as he sipped the last few drops of his first cup of tea.  He couldn’t even think of the reason why Curtis had come by in the first place.  The confusion of the situation really started to hit him as soon as he opened the door and saw Curtis standing there.  Jack typically tried to avoid contact with anyone for the first hour or so after he’d taken his pills because everything got so cloudy and hard to remember.

What Jack did remember was Curtis’s reaction to his art.  Two of his soap gargoyles were sitting on the dining table, unfinished but still perched upon their soap boxes.  Curtis laughed.  Laughed until he was red in the face, doubled over and pointing at them.

Jacks face grew red as well, but not with laughter.  First it was embarrassment, then anger, then rage.  Beyond that point, the details were clouded by Jack’s medication, but he seemed to remember stumbling through his words to offer Curtis a cup of tea while darting toward the kitchen to try to avoid the humiliation that was happening right in the center of his home.

Jack looked at the chef’s knife on his counter remembering the day he bought it.  “Never needs to be sharpened!!” was printed in bold red letters on the packaging, which Jack was particularly fond of because he never remembered to do things like sharpen knives.  Now it sat there on the counter, still not needing to be sharpened but definitely needing to be at least washed.  Jack figured he should probably just throw it out.  Food never tasted the same when he used a mistake knife to prepare it, and this situation with Curtis had definitely gotten past the “mistake” point.

Jack finished off his second cup of tea and washed the blood off his hands.  Looking down at the teapot and cup he quickly realized that perhaps that should have been the first thing he did before putting on the kettle – or had he put the kettle on before Curtis came by?  It was all such a blur.

He grabbed the chef’s knife and headed into the bedroom for the inevitable.

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10 March 2013 20 Minute Stories