Always Tea Time

I did say I wanted time away, but I didn’t expect Star to bring me somewhere with no signal of any kind whatsoever. Of course she didn’t tell me where we were going. I am her pickiest and most paranoid friend, and I would have asked how many times the bathrooms were cleaned, were the beddings regularly changed, what was the menu, were there any serial killers in the area–just the normal stuff. I tried to remind her I was so delicate I got mono without even kissing anyone, but she just smiled and said I’d enjoy myself, if she had to make me.

Sometimes, Star is downright scary.

So here we are at The Daughter’s Inn. The moment we stopped, she ordered their homemade mocha for herself and fresh orange juice for me. I actually asked for tea, but she gave me this weird look and said, “Tea time is always at four.” I told her she was annoying. The orange juice is surprisingly good.

Star has been here twice before, the first time with her best friend. The second time she was with her family. I just wish she wouldn’t make me feel so out of place by greeting everyone here, even the dog Ginger. Ginger has had his rabies shots. He’s been dewormed, too. He doesn’t stay in the kitchen, so the food’s clean enough.

Star is in her usual cope-with-Song attitude, which is to laugh at everything I say and do until I laugh at myself. Which is, you know, annoying but effective. Oh, look, children. Looks like Star knows them too. Hurrah. Oh, great. Star just whispered to them that for me, every minute is 4pm.

….

Okay, the kids have just gone away. They brought me a tray with a mug of hot water and a packet of Earl Grey. “Tea time is always at four,” one kid said. Which is, I suppose, where Star got that weird saying. I cried just a little bit. And Star is laughing at me again.

….

I found out that everyone–but me, apparently–has tea at 4pm at The Daughter’s Inn on Saturdays. I hate the long trestle tables where we literally rub elbows with everyone else, I hate everyone saying hi to me and Star but especially to Star, I hate that I now feel like the picky guest who has to be specially served tea at all times of the day while everyone else waits for 4pm. Star knows what I’m thinking, no surprise there. She’s laughing again. Just a minute, Sakura’s calling me. (She’s one of the kids).

….

I waited until Star was asleep to write this. She’s seen enough of my emotions today.

Sakura invited me to the kitchen, introduced me to Kevin’s dad, the owner and chef. (Kevin’s another one of the kids). They put a tray at the side, placed a mug and saucer on it, heaped it with packets of Earl Grey, and showed me where the water boiler was. So I can disappear into the kitchen any time I want and come out with my Earl Grey. So I’m all red-eyed and snotty now from crying. Again.

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