There was something missing from my dorm room.
“Condoms?” My mother suggested, hopefully.
“Oh god mom.”
“I just want you to by safe!” I hated that phrase. Be safe. My father used it to broadcast my shortcomings.
Be safe meant wear a helmet, but also you’re bat at riding your bike. It meant pay attention when you’re driving, because you’re stupid and will look at your phone. When I came out, it meant stop talking with your hands because you’ll get beaten up.
Now mercifully divorced, my mothers words ‘be safe’ came cascading through my phone. Now that I’m in the city, be safe meant, be as gay as you want to be, but don’t get HIV.
Everyone in the city terrified her. When she helped me move in, she was quick to caution me about locking my doors. About sticking to the good part of town. I expected her to tell me not to talk to strangers.
“No, it’s something else…” I said as the electric kettle clicked off. “Ah! I don’t have a teapot!”
“Oh well, I’m sure you can get tea in the cafeteria. Though maybe buy some in bulk at the store. It’ll be cheaper.” She was right. I could get tea at the caf and it would be cheaper from the store… but it wasn’t tea without the pot.
Tea is strangely important to me. Growing up, I spent a lot of time at my grandma’s house. Being the proper englishwoman that she was, she taught me how to bake, sew, and most importantly brew the best tea.
Sure everyone knows the basics. Water had to be just hot enough and it would have to steep for the right amount of time. Some people might even know that the milk goes in first.
The secret to my grandma’s tea was the colour of the pot.
“It didn’t matter the size or shape,” she said with a wink, ” but if you look inside the teapot and it’s missing the patina from hundreds of pots of tea it just won’t be the same. I should get a teapot of my own for when I get visitors.
This short scene came from a prompt from my writing group. We were tasked with each capturing a fortune from a fortune cookie with a symbol. Mine was “Family relationships will improve with time.”
Go to a fortune cookie generator (like this one) to come up with some inspiration of your own!