Stopping for the simple things in life, they are the most important.
|On this particular February afternoon, the air is cold but the friendship warms my heart. A fresh blanket of snow covered downtown and the streets are slushy - making driving a little easier. As I pulled into the parking lot, Julie was just getting out of her car and she pulled her scarf tighter to fend off the chill. Katie was right behind her. We embrace each other warmly, excited about the next few hours.
As we enter Tea & Sympathy, our own private spa, we are transported back to a gentler time and place. There are rooms, niches, nooks and crannies filled with large winged-back chairs gathered lazily around coffee tables with lace doilies. The comforting aroma of fresh-baked bread permeates the air and instantly my stress fades and I feel relaxed.
We had reserved our “old spot” at the fireplace, which had recently been stoked awaiting our arrival. We ease into our velvety chairs throwing the cares of the day into our purses longing for the deep friendship offered by one another. We could sit there for several hours, sipping Darjeeling tea nestled in balmy warmth not saying a word. Our eyes say everything. However, there is news, as their always is, to be conveyed in the gentle banter of companionship about husbands, children, and life.
Our very young waitress comes to take our order having deposited menus fifteen minutes previously. We argued over finger sandwiches or salads. In the end, we order sandwiches and fruit anticipating a scrumptious treat for dessert. I have a pot of Earl Gray, my old stand-by. Julie orders Jasmine with Green Tea and Katie gets a pot of Golden Sunrise.
As I sit in my comfort-chair, I can see my reflection in the stainless steel grate of the fireplace. My image dances from the warm mirage of fire heat. My eyes look a little sad, but that is no different from any other time these days. Shaking my head out of a daze, I am brought back to life with Julie’s voice regaling another story of Keith’s mischievous adventures in the back yard. I picture how cute he looks and laugh genuinely from my stomach. It feels good. I look at the golden band on Katie’s hand and am instantly enviously of that bond that I once shared. Not right now, I tell myself. Nothing is going to ruin this most perfect afternoon.
Time passes, exactly how much we don’t know. It’s not that important. We decide that something very chocolaty is in order and when our waitress returns, we order the Triple Carmel Fudge Bar with three forks. We giggle and sip our tea pretending to be little girls in our grown-up clothes.