Steeped

It was crowded, and louder than usual.  A gust of cold wind hit him as one more soul was ushered into the tiny coffee house.  The bell above the door tinkled.  Another angel’s wings, he thought.

His attention returned to his tea:  Irish Breakfast.  He used to drink it with his grandmother, who was neither Irish nor ever ate breakfast.  She just liked tea.  “Tea is peace and comfort,” she would tell him.  “A good pot of tea can make the worst enemies into friends.”  She always used to say that.  But that was almost forty years ago.

This was the best Irish Breakfast tea in town.  Almost as good and Grammaw’s.  “Excuse me …” 

Steam and memory rose from his cup, and he looked through the mist at a stranger’s face. 

“It’s pretty full here today.  Would you mind if I sat with you … or are you expecting someone?”

The bell tinkled.  Wind rushed in.  He was silent a long moment, knowing nobody was coming for him.  His eyes fell to his tea.  It was getting cold.

“It’s alright.  I’ll find somewhere else.”  And the stranger was gone, lost to the bustling noise of the coffee house.

He felt cold.

* * *

Photo by Nicolai Schindler on Unsplash

Story by Gregory M. Fox
from A Breath of Fiction’s archives
originally published October 30, 2010