The aroma swirls,
Tickles your senses.
And opens the mind
To endless possibilities,
A winter day
Wrapped in sunshine.
The essential essence of awareness.
Twin Star Quilts and Peppermint Tea
Her mother always told her she stitched too quickly, but Eliza never cared. Her mother told her many things about herself she had long since learned were false. But now that she had her own household, it did not matter how quickly she stitched and how she pinned her hair and what she cooked and how much work she did every day.
She liked to believe she was more industrious than her mother, but as soon as that thought pleasured her mind, she pricked her finger with a needle and she was reminded of the sinfulness of pride.
"Serves you right, you arrogant woman," she chided herself, sucking on the injured finger so it did not stain her precious linen backing. That was something else her mother would scold her about if she saw. But at least Eliza could point out that she had two twin star quilts and her mother had none, because her mother could hardly sew a button.
"And there's pride again," she sighed, taking a sip of peppermint tea.
It was grown in her own garden, a lovely little sunny spot of the yard she had planted her first year of marriage. Will had teased her over it.
"Flowers and frippery all of it," he snorted. "Not even a vegetable garden."
But after he came down with a horrid influenza and Eliza stayed up every night nursing him with teas made from the very herbs in that "frippery," he said not a word against it again. He even helped her with it, which pleased Eliza indeed. Once she'd even heard him boasting of it in town to the other men.
"My wife's the smartest woman in the county," he said. "Has a garden full of herbs for any illness. Saved my life during the flu of '09."
Will was a fine man. He didn't smoke nor chew like the other men in town, and he never drank and he read the Word every day and led his household like a real man. He took fine care of her, too. Eliza always pitied the women at the quilting group who bemoaned their men who never came home for supper and who drank their money away and slept till the noon while the women did all the work. No, Will worked hard—harder than she did—and if they ever were short of food it was he who silently snuck the last tidbits onto her plate and refused seconds, even if Eliza argued that he needed it more for the plowing and the care of stock.
"You're my wife, and you're more important than I, love, so don't you try to persuade me out of it," he'd laugh, and give her a kiss.
And now he had even more excuse, for the baby inside her he had to protect as well as her, so Eliza had given up protesting. But they weren't short of food much anymore since their work had paid off and the farm prospered; only in the last days of winter when the storage was running low did they have to watch the servings.
But there would always be herbs a-plenty, and fresh peppermint for warm summer days like this one when she wanted a refreshing tea to keep her sharp for the complicated task of making her second twin star quilt.
The first she had made for her hope chest, not so long ago, when she was expecting to be married. It was blue and cream, since both she and Will favored blue, and it sat on their bed now. It was beautiful enough, though more juvenile work, the stitching somewhat untidy and a few of the corners not quite matched. But still Eliza saw it with pride, because it carried the hopes of a girl waiting to be married to the love of her life, hopes that had matured into the contentedness of a woman happy with her husband and her hearth and her home.
She fanned herself with a copy of the ladies' magazine after she finished the last stitch of a square. The summer sun seemed to stifle her in the house, and she wondered whether it would be better outside.
"Likely not," she thought with another sip of peppermint tea, the tanginess making her think of spicy autumn days and pumpkins and golden corn ready for harvest. The baby would be born then, too, right after the harvest. She hoped it would not be so close to the harvest; she didn't want to make herself a nuisance and set Will to fretting when he needed to be working. But she'd counted back and she suspected it would be near the harvest.
"I despise being a bother," she groaned, taking another swig of tea to settle her nervous stomach at the though. The baby kicked as if in protest, and she patted her stomach, leaning back with a sigh. "You're not the bother; I'm the bother if I'll be abed all through harvest with everyone fussing over me and your papa fretting every moment about such things that he knows nothing about."
But she smiled nonetheless, at the thought of a baby in the cradle before winter, a baby to see the vibrancy of autumn, to laugh and cry and make the house a bit fuller than it was before. This thought calmed her, and she curled up in the chair for a rest, her eyes drifting shut wearily as she waited and the sweet smells of linen and sweet summer grass and tangy peppermint tea lulling her to sleep.
just you and me.
Perhaps we will see,
what is meant to be.
Oh, peppermint tea,
just you and me.
Just you and me,
sipping our peppermint tea.
I open up the vintage tea box from the cabinet. One bag left. Peppermint Tea. I boiled tthe water. It rushed in the kettle like the ocean. I got out a mug from my grandmother. Fine china. Inscribed it said, "Save me a seat at your wedding". I was single still. Twenty-five, and my grandmother had passed three years ago. I pour the tea and set out an empty up next to mine. I like to think she is sitting beside me sometimes, but the glass is always empty. The lights dim in my apartment as a storm brews outside. The peppermint sharpens my senses and for an instant I felt I could see her, reaching for me. But it vanishes as the phone rings. I answer to the sound of her breathing. Grandmother. I hang up, startled. I go to the cabinet where my empty tea box is, and reach for it. I open it up and gasp. The once empty tea box was now filled with my peppermint tea. There was a note. It read, "Don't forget the honey." Next to the tea bags there was a jar of clover honey. Peppermint tea, what else can you do?
Tea, why so different?
(Sorry it shifts POV's a lot. Just how I write sometimes.)
Opening the lid, H moved over to deposit the tea cube into the pot. He moved so steadily, moving with grace and the speed of years. Cee was in the living room where she was sitting with Lily, Kurai, and Hikari. Lily was splayed with both paws up in the air and Kurai and Hikari were wrapped around Cee. a small table just a few inches off the ground was right next to her. The t.v. in front of them displayed one of their favorite anime. playing in the background. A half finished model was set on the floor. Its bright colors a contrast to the dark of the dogs. Movement from the kitchen caught her eye as she saw H move around the blind Vulture, Kuroi Shin'en. he moved over and set himself down next to her holding 2 cups of tea. She took the one closest to him and smelled it. She took a sip and scrunched up her face.
"what don't like mine?"
"I'm not too fond of ghost pepper tea."
He gave her the other tea. She took a sip and smiled.
"There it is, I haven't seen that in a while."
"your smile, love, your smile."
she looked down at the half-finished model he picked up after siping some of his ghost pepper tea. he started on one of the things wings. It's an intret design requiring almost 100 pieces alone. his mind was so complex but he had trouble expressing it. But she remembers when they first met she thought he was nothing too special but now being one of only five who knew the truth H was exciting. but his taste in some things was a little questionable. she moved her hand into his left pocket. and pulled out a vile with black liquid. she poured some into his tea and stirred. he looked at her with a curious expression on his face.
"Have you had your daily dose today, love?"
"So here you go your daily dose of Black Spine Poision. Keep your strength up dear."
she moved down and snugged deeper into the giant wolf behind her, his soft fur so cuddle worthy. when she first stayed with her, the place was devoid of any chairs or a couch. but after seeing the dogs (at the time I thought they were fluffy dogs.) I thought why not and fell in love? It took me 3 years before I realized they weren't dogs but 2 were wolves. setting into her fur so white it looked like the light side of the moon or freshly laid snow. Maybe that is why he called her Hikari.
H moved over to her once he was done with one of the wings. the model he was working on only had the waist, 2 wings, and the head done and he had built over 500 parts so far, it was one of the most complex and expensive to ever come out. rangeing around ¥650,000 or just under $5,000. it had about 2000 parts and even came with an LED inner frame,
he put it down and moved closer into Hikari and leaned his head into Cee. he looked over at her. she was drinking her tea and looking into the oblivion.
"Yep, just thinking."
she smiled the smile you smile when your thinking something stupid and it will lead with you to the rabbit hole.
Her excitement roused Kurai, who looked over at her before moving his massive bulk up and over to the vulture, letting it rest on his back, lying sown and walking back to the others, the vulture jumped down, landed awkwardly and snuggled right up to Kurai's side.
"Tea? why the hell are you thinking about tea?"
he looked at her and saw her smile. He sighed and motioned her to continue.
"Well, we are in love." he nodded. "We both like tea." Again, he nodded, "but our tastes are so different so that being said try mine. you never do."
She proceeds to shove her tea into his face. he backs up a little.
"Cee?! why? I don't like your tea!"
"You like spice so why not my tea? its got lots especially with the added 2 tablespoons of perperment extract?"
"that's different ok."
"No, it ain't just try it."
he sighed and took some as he took a sip and gagged.
he turned into a coughing mess and cee proseeded to giggle as Kurai bumped H's back with a back paw. trying to get the fit to end.
"FUCK, like I said different typoe of... spice."
her giggles settled down, she told him.
"I guess so I mean I only got 4 in there not 2."
"4 tablespoons, Bitch why?"
That earned him a whap on the head by her. she looked over and smiled.
"because though were so different you fuck we still enjoy so many things together I find it so interesting."
"Of course you do. fair is fair though."
She took out a white vile and downed half of it. Then motioning to his cup he moved it and she took a sip not even flinching as the spicy shit went down her thought and the poison made it to her stomach being nurlized by the white stuff.
"Nope, I love you and all and I like spice and shit and everything but this, this is shit, Ghost Pepper tea is not for me."
she settled down H right next to her and smiled.
He facepamed. as she whispered.
"Pepperment tea all the way, Love"
Someday I would come to accept that the universe didn't have it against me, but today was not that day.
"I am SO SORRY!" Instead of answering the poor stewardess I continued to stare at what was once an important letter but was now serving as a napkin for the recently spilled tea. "I will go grab some napkins and a new peppermint tea for you right away, ma'am." A few minutes later I was still staring blankly at the letter when several paper towels were dropped in my lap. "Let me help clean this up, would you like to move to a different section of the train? We have several other seats just like this one, in fact, I could sneak you up to first class." That got my attention.
"It's alright, neither of us expected the sudden stop, but I would love to take you up on that offer." The smile I sent her way wasn't even completely forced with the promise of cushier seats in mind.
"Of course, let me go and clear it with the head steward and I will be right back. Go ahead and get your stuff together so we can head up immediately." After another small smile and nod from me, she took off back towards the front of the train car, apparently very relieved that I wasn't yelling at her. Looking again at the letter I silently prayed that it would still be legible enough to read. Deciding to hope for the best, I quickly got my scattered belongings together off the empty seat beside me and was just finished zipping up my bag when the original stewardess arrived with another man, presumably the head steward she mentioned.
"Please follow me, ma'am, we are happy to move you to an open first-class cabin since your seats are unfortunately a bit wet at the moment." Not giving me a chance to respond, the bald man turned on his heel and headed for the stairs that led to the top portion of the train car.
"Would you like me to help carry anything?" I smiled and shook my head at the kind woman before throwing my pack over my shoulder to carefully follow the man up the stairs. While the train was not moving very fast, there were still unexpected bumps as it moved along the tracks, so I slowly moved forward while mumbling sorry when I would accidentally brush my bag over someone's arm. Once I made it up the few steps I located the man halfway down the railcar and continued towards him, hoping to hide that I was out of breath from such a short distance.
"Here we go miss, feel free to head inside and get settled. We still have seven hours before we get to our location so if you would like help, we can lay the seats down into a small cot," I carefully maneuvered inside the cabin and looked around trying to not make it obvious that my peasants heart cried pennies while looking at the private space.
"No thank you, I am going to try and get some work done. Thank you so much for the upgrade," As soon as my words were out the man nodded and left, gently shutting the door behind him. Falling back into one of the plush chairs I was beginning to think that the universe was attempting to apologize for the last several months, but I really should have known better. After finally opening the damp letter and laying it out to read its still-legible font, I slumped over and let out a large sigh.
Dear Miss Kylie Palmer,
It is with regret that we must inform you that no further evidence has been found in the case of your late father, Colin Palmer. While we will still have an officer working on the case, it has been decided that the lack of evidence from the last three months has made the case come to a halt. As such, we regret that we must pull all but a single detective from the case. Please be assured that should any evidence make itself known, we will review the case again. Detective Erin Delerio's contact information is included in the enclosed envelope. Please be advised that Detective Delerio is also heading fifteen open cases and may not be able to respond immediately to any queries. However, if you remember anything that could be useful in this case, feel free to contact her and she will respond as quickly as she is able.
While we are aware that this is not the news you or we hoped for, please remember that we are still going to work diligently to find evidence in this case.
Sorry we could not offer better news,
Head Detective of the HPD
Part of me had known that if the detectives had found anything useful they would have called rather than sending a thin envelope to my home address. Yet, the crushing disappointment I felt was the same. A few moments later, the steward from earlier knocked on my door. A second later he opened it, but as he did the train hit another bump and I again found myself staring down at my soaked pants. Maybe I really should give up peppermint tea. After another rush of apologies the man took off to grab towels and I stared again at the letter. While disappointed I knew they wouldn't find anything. After all, I had cleaned the apartment from head to toe with bleach after watching my father's final breath. I just wished they would find the safe my father had hidden mere hours before I had arrived that night a few months ago. The universe truly had it against me, and apparently, so did peppermint tea.
Steel yourself whilst steeping cups of tea
My message I hope many folks to see,
so, ponder as you sip peppermint tea.
Do you at times yearn not to shoot the breeze?
Then listen quite intently to the trees.
Lo, some who went before beset to seize,
clear-cutting, money-grabbing, if you please.
Our land in eras past was underseas
as evidenced by fossils in relief.
Shall we heed talk of fractions of degrees?
The running roughshod over vital bees?
Let’s volunteer, act on our pedigree.
React as one to guard our loyalty.
The house was quiet. A few more hours and the kids would be up. I pushed myself further into the green velvet couch my husband and I picked together. It was comfortable. Fluffy, yet stiff. The fabric was exhilarating against my fingers. We bought this couch three years after trying to conceive with no luck. We hadn't given up, but when the couch arrived we were definitely more consumed with it. We'd had sex on it for five nights in a row. A few weeks later, the nausea I had was so intense I decided to take a pregnancy test. Positive. The only thing that helped my nausea was peppermint tea. My life was filled with peppermint tea.
The fireplace flickered in my eyes and I pushed my back deeper into the couch. We had three children now. Only God knows why kids two and three came so quickly. My husband and I agreed that was it. Three and done. Five of us on this planet was enough. My chest rattle and an unintentional breath escaped me as I took a big swig of warm peppermint tea.