‘Letter to My Younger Self’: Perfect Tea

Last semester I took a ‘writing creative nonfiction’ class in which one of the tasks was to write a small response to a different prompt each week. Seeing as the semester is over I can now post this piece from week three. For that week we had to write a ‘Letter to My Younger Self’. This is what I came up with!

~

Dear Anna,

I’m writing this to you today to give you an instruction of sorts. That probably sounds a little ominous, so I apologise in advance, or technically, late, depending on how you look at it.

Anywho, I digress.

I’m not sure how old you are at this point. Especially as if I aimed to get this to you at a certain age – knowing my track record – this letter would reach you either too late, too early, or it would simply end up here. In my letterbox. In 2017. The latter scenario being of no use to either of us.

Leaving the technicalities behind, I am writing to tell you how (or maybe when?) to make the perfect cup of tea.

Personally, I do not remember learning. Which may sound strange, but years of watching mum boil the water, spoon the leaves into the pot, a dash of milk in the mug, and then wait probably did the trick. I can now make a solid cup of tea. My problem is drinking too early and scorching the inside of my mouth.

Trust me, we never learn.

I know that you will most definitely learn (and most likely at this point know) the perfunctory ins and outs of making a cup of tea, but there is tea, and then there is tea.

Tea: A drink; made and drunk when you’re cold/when you feel like it/to fuel the writing of assignments/to fuel writing in general.

Tea: A drink; made and drunk with love/to calm/to comfort/for others/with apologies.

The former is your everyday cuppa. The breakfast tea. The ‘I have two hours to write this’ tea. The ‘I’m so exhausted I need a cup of tea’ tea. This cup of tea is not in any way less important. It does the job. It warms you, it fuels you, it tides you over ‘til you’re next bothered to eat, it even helps to write essays. (That last one, I can assure you, does work.)

The latter you make when you know that it’s not only you who needs it. When you brew the tea to perfection, with love, for someone special, or just for someone who needs it. This tea is the comforter, the calmer of anxieties, the beginning of an apology that you’re not sure how to start.

For us, Anna, tea is more than just a drink.

Tea takes us home.

Remember that.

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Wistful Stranger

Empty names
And empty faces
Mysterious sights
With peculiar graces

I pass by
A stranger
In someone else’s world

Their familiarities
Their everyday hummdrum
More than I could ever see from here
From the outside

To me
It’s all new
A mystery

To them
They know the streets
The ally’s
All those sorts of nooks and crannies

Where she found that five pound note
Where he had his first kiss
Where the twins used to ride their bikes

To me all unknown
But they’re there
Those little stories

The ones which make us human
Joining all the puzzle pieces
To bring a place to life

It will show itself in time

With patience
With love
With care

So maybe
Just maybe

I’ll find my place there too

~