This story, Cup Of Tea, was a flash fiction submission to InkTears and was highly commended – it will be published in their Collection of Flash Fiction stories in December 2014.
Was I an inconsequence? A result of no import? Data sewn onto a graph with too weak a thread? An anomaly to dismiss?
The question hangs in the silence. The noose of it tightening and lifting me off the ground. My feet stumble before I can speak. Your mouth opens before I can ask a thing. You fill the air with observations about the weather. The glisten of the sunlight on frosted branches, like fairy dust you say. Like magic.
“Isn’t it cold?”
Was I the fruit of inconvenience then? Perhaps that was it? A burden to yield. Let it be. And be. The pear swells and ripens from the tree and falls. Where it lies and leathers. Puckered edges. Insides turning to rot. Here I am, your daughter. Decades later. Over ripe.
You had your reasons. You were young. Unmarried. And he was. You place a withered hand on mine. Funny how history repeats.
I can’t quite stand the thought of it. And yet here we are, reunited. A café in Askrigg. The cushion of the Yorkshire Dales rolling far and wide around us like padding.
You had started to visit me in my sleep. The permeations of how you will be, of how this meeting will go. I woke this morning with a sudden feeling of dread. We’ve pushed ourselves apart for so long, coped so well without the other, that all that there can be left to explore is emptiness.
You smile out the window, not able to look at me. Your eyes rest upon my reflection in the glass. The transparent version, through which you can still see the snow, the trees, the stone houses, topped with white, undisturbed.
“Pot of tea alright?” I ask.
“Oh yes please. Never did care for coffee.” You say.
We sit in silence a moment more, until the tea arrives and we both pour and add a dash of milk, watching it run shapes through the water and transform.