Shorter one that I wrote while sitting in the dark very, very sick with covid. That definitely influenced the subject matter, I think.
The tea is always more honey than tea. That’s a good thing when you’re sick—and she often makes you sick—but every other time it becomes a clogging syrup in your throat. Liquidy candy glistens like its sugary sister caramel.
She always stares deep into your eyes until it overflows.
“That’s enough,” you say, smiling.
She doesn’t even pretend to hear you this time. The liquid—one part rosehip tea leaves, one part boiling water, four parts honey—flows like lava over the rim.
She makes you drink it and disregards the ruined tablecloth. It will be replaced with another, bleach-bone-white, by tomorrow. Sometimes it’s other colors, the purple of fresh bruises or blood, but mostly it’s white with the occasional festive runner at holidays. Those things seem to be the only way to keep track of time anymore.
You don’t know what day it is. You only know that you have to drink the tea or risk having it upended on your head. The method of taking measured sips draws the experience out while gulping it down burns you regardless of the tea’s temperature.
There’s honey in all of her cakes and cookies. You never thought you would dislike sweets, but she’s ruined them just like she’s ruined floral tea. The cloying taste makes your teeth ache but she never seems to notice. Her bees’ nectar hasn’t rotted her too-sharp teeth away just yet. It’s only been a few years. But even given ten more you don’t think she’ll ever succumb to the overpowering syrup.