My Cup of Tea

The last couple of weeks I’ve been writing around the love I have of my cup of tea. It may not seem like a big deal–just a little cup of tea–but to me, it’s more. It’s this little rebellion, this thing that I’m not exactly ashamed of but not exactly proud of either. I don’t know so I’ve been chewing on it.

The essay that’s taking shape is one of those…I don’t know what the technical term is, fragmented essays? It is my favorite type of essay to write. I basically revisit three or four important moments in my relationship with tea and see what I can find there.

Here is one of them:

My friend Ryan was dreamy. He was handsome and athletic and fun and smart and also, actually, very nice.

For example: Three of us were on our way to home from a full summer afternoon of cliff jumping and swimming in the river. These are the days that when you are forty you sometimes dream about. Summer heat blowing through the windows, your favorite song playing on the tape deck, and nothing on your mind except for how much fun you just had.

Ryan went into the gas station to pay. When he came out he was carrying three glass bottles. Here I got this for you, he tossed it into the back seat.

It was a Snapple Iced tea.

As we drove away, the boys chatted and laughed in the front seat. The windows were down and the radio was on so I couldn’t hear what they were saying very well. But even if could, it wouldn’t have mattered. I was too panic-y to notice.

I stared at the cold Snapple iced tea on the seat. Peach flavored.

I had never drank a tea before, iced or otherwise. Heck–I think I had never even held one in my hand. It would be so easy. I was thirsty. Unscrew the lid. Hear the pop. Drink the cold, peachy tea. Done.

Ryan didn’t know or care that I was forbidden, yes forbidden, to drink tea. Scott couldn’t have cared. No one would notice.

But I didn’t. Instead I stashed it under the passenger side seat. Deep under the seat where Ryan would never find unless, somehow, he decided to deeply clean the car.

I was supposed to feel proud of myself. Here was a test and I passed it. I stuck to my beliefs  and didn’t drink the iced tea. But victory wasn’t sweet. Instead I felt bad. Deflated. Like I had rejected the basic terms of friendship. We don’t keep secrets. We break bread. We share the good, sweet, peachy things in our lives. He did what a good friend does. I did not.

I prayed he wouldn’t find it or if he did, he wouldn’t remember that I was the one who refused it. Or if he did remember, he would shrug his shoulders and think, “Huh, I guess Mandy doesn’t like peach iced tea. Why didn’t she just say so?”

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