I was never a big tea drinker. For a southerner, we had an usual tea deficit in our home. Our drink of choice was Kool-Aid, which I now account for my ADHD addled mind. When Ken and I met, he was an avid tea drinker. I remember unpacking box after box of empty and half filled Teavana canisters and realizing he might have a problem. This knowledge was solidified when I discovered he had over 4 different style tea pots. His obsession became one of our most cherished routines. After his stint in rehab for substance abuse, he quit drinking alcohol for nearly two years. Instead of a night cap, it became a tea cup. As I would put the kids to bed, Ken would brew a pot of tea and create an assortment of snacks; olives, cheeses, fruits, crackers. He would arrange them on a little wooden tray and then carry them to our room. I remember climbing into bed and sitting cross legged with him as he poured our cups. We would discuss our day, our good and bad, our dreams and vision. To this day it’s one of the most romantic sweet memories I have.
I wish we could go back to those simpler times before everything fell apart. Have you ever had one routine that no matter how many times you’ve tried to disassociate the emotion from, you just can’t? That’s tea time for me now. Instead of the peace that holding a steaming cup of chamomile gave me, it now sends tears down my face. Tea time shouldn’t feel like this. It should be safe and warm, comforting.
Ava enjoyed tea time as well. It was a signal to the end of our day. She would always nestle at our feet. I guess it was peaceful for her as well. Her ears twitched back and forth as Ken and I talked. She listened attentively to our conversation. I guess the tone of our voices were soothing. She’s more restless now. At night she becomes anxious around 9pm and begins to whine. That’s about the time we would begin our tea ceremony. I don’t know that she realizes this or if it’s just time that she knows we would have been settling down for the night. Either way, the sadness that this creates for me crashes over me like a wave. I can’t explain to her why he no longer comes home or why nothing smells like him anymore.
Life goes on though and maybe one day the tears won’t flow down my face. Maybe Ava won’t whine and remind me of our sorrow. For now though, I’ll muddle through like everything else. I hope Ava understands the best way a dog possible can.