The Breadcrumbs widget will appear here on the published site.
The Spring Leaf Tea House
In the tea house, tea cups are suspended in the air like frozen raindrops. As you walk in, you will be overwhelmed by the aroma of jasmine that wafts in the air. You will try to wave it away, or cover your face, but eventually you will stop. You will let your arms hang limp at your sides. The smell will enter you and you will forget why you are here and how you got there. Tables with lavender cloths clutter around the room, and when you walk past, you will notice shadowy figures sitting at each table. An old woman with yellowed eyes sits at a table, vacantly staring into her empty teacup. You will say hello but a gentle tug at your elbow takes you to a table with a lily poking out from its vase.
When you are at your seat, you will forget that you only wanted to peek in through the front window. You will forget the woman with dark hair at the door who spoke to you in soft whispers, imploring you to come in. A waitress will pluck a delicate pink tea cup from above your head and place it in front of you. The jasmine will burn your eyes and tears will form. The waitress with emerald eyes will brush a tear trailing down your cheek, then place a menu into your hands.
You will order the amaretto tea and bread pudding, and after the menu is taken away, you will hear the voices. An invisible man’s voice will whisper “good morning”. Your body will relax, like a loose string. You will breathe in deeper, a small sigh escaping your lips. You will see visions of white sand, the back of a man as he walks into the waves; somewhere in the distance, a sailboat bobs in the sunset. In your dream, you will walk towards the man and place your lips between his shoulder blades; he will smell of cut summer grass and pine wood, and there will be a scar on his left shoulder: a perfect circle. You are in his arms but also hungrily eating the bread pudding. You will not notice the burns on your tongue as the hot tea slides down your throat. You will only feel the ocean breeze lick your body as you sit up in the sand. You will not know that you are dreaming of your honeymoon. You will only vaguely recognize your husband. You will not remember he is dead.
Those who have made it out of the tea shop are addicted for life. They speak of a vacancy, a hunger that is never sated. They ask if what they saw was real. Some dreamed of children with freckles dotting their noses, crawling into their laps and listening to lullabies the dreamers haven’t sung in years. Some remember visions of climbing trees with flowering vines, others dream of their parents, of camping trips in thin tents and starry nights, or of parades during the fourth of July. They recall the sweet incense pouring into the street and the sudden sensation of air filling their lungs. They stumble out, knocking over tables, spilling tea cups, shattering tea kettles. They crawl over vacant-faced people, desperately clawing for the sun that peeks through the drapes.
Perhaps the two women working at the counter were gone when they escaped, no one knows. Perhaps those who escaped, didn’t have good enough dreams or were too old, and were willingly released from the tea house’s spell. Some have said that the woman at the door, tempting passersby with her soft voice and languid eyes was a witch. Others have said the waitress, with the long lashes and red lipstick, was a succubus, draining the youth from her victims as they helplessly dream. Regardless, the victims who escaped were gone for months, some for years. Their world moved on without them and some, with nothing to return to, searched aimlessly for the tea shop, only to never find it again.
What you will remember was this: how you woke up in his arms that morning beneath white sheets illuminated by sunlight. How you sat in bed speaking of the waves. How you drew him to you, hungrily knocking you both over. How you made love to him, and afterwards, when your limbs were intertwined, you listened to him breathing, his breath warm like the steam of a cup of brewed tea.
#Unreal #ShortStory #Photography #CreativeWriting #Fiction
Visit our shop and subscribe. Sponsor us. Submit and become a contributor. Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.