cafe writingLately my writing has been primarily focussed on transcribing into my laptop handwritten scenes for my new novel. There have been a few sweet exceptions where my ’emotional co-conspirator’ (a term we coined after discarding boyfriend/girlfriend, paramour and the dreaded business-like term, partner) and I have taken an hour or so in a cafe  to write to prompts. But not since the delicious delve into 10 straight days of blissful writing practice at a cottage on Pelee Island in May have I had dedicated time to write.
I subscribe to and their urgings and invitations arrive regularly in my inbox, only to be relegated to my “writing info” folder. Last week, I chose to answer the call and wrote a short story to a prompt. Writers had 24 hours to generate a new piece under 1000 words. The prompt was to write about someone being calmed by drinking a cup of tea.

I wrote the story, followed the directions on uploading carefully (I thought) and waited until noon the next day to see how my wee tale fared.
Not so good, it turns out since I posted it all wrong.
Oh, well. One generous soul commented, which was nice, but otherwise, the story, although ‘published’ on the site, is already fading into oblivion as I won’t be able to enter it into any contests.
So… here it is:
A Good Year

cup of teaWhen Elfie set the cup down, Gilles didn’t spit out what swelled in his mouth. The way she swung out both hands as if the cup contained an ’82 Pomerol, a ’90 Dom, or maybe breast milk from the last living rhino made his eyes narrow into lizard slits.
“It’s tea,” Elfie said, sweet as a muffin. “It will help.”
Tea will help? Tea?”
Dipping one shoulder, Elfie’s head tipped to the opposite side. “Oh, don’t be such a sour puss,” she said. “Just give it a try.”
“I need a double single malt, Elf. A triple double single malt, even better.” Early evening sun slanted in through the blinds. Gilles counted three cars passing – an Audi, a Ford Focus, and a Rav4. He didn’t name them because if he did Elfie would give him that look; the look that confirmed his suspicions about his own irrelevance. “I need something stronger than tea. I’m dying here.”
“Drink up before it gets cold. Hot tea, that’s the ticket. Take a breath and let it all the way out. Smell the tea. Take a sip and let it sit in your mouth. Focusing on the tea will calm your mind and give you fresh perspective.”
“Right,” Gilles said. “That should do it for sure.”
After planting a flat kiss on the egg of his head, Elfie flitted from the kitchen, her skirt a swirl of blue and green.
“I’ve lost my damn job! Life as we know it is over,” Gilles yelled through the empty doorway.
From overhead came the sound of shuffling feet on the floorboards and the muted lyrics of Tom Petty singing about someone being lucky.
“I don’t drink tea,” Gilles addressed the contents of the cup. “I’m a man’s man. I’m a real man. Real men don’t drink tea. They drink cognac and stand up for themselves. They tell their bosses that their protocols aren’t ethical. Then they go home and want to break things. Real men know how to fix things. Real men aren’t 55 and out of work.”
Tom Petty’s voice came through the cracks in the floorboards. “You better watch what you say…”
Toeing open the liquor cupboard, Gilles bent to retrieve the single remaining bottle. “Un petit Calva,” he sighed, unscrewing the cap to pour the last of the liquor into his milky Darjeeling tea.
“Don’t get carried away,” sang Tom.
The brush of bare feet on the carpeted stairs alerted him to Elfie’s return. Tucking the empty bottle back into the cupboard, he tapped the door closed with one foot.
When Elfie reappeared in the doorway Gilles presented a liquid smile, his hands cradling the cup.
“Well?” Elfie said, one hand fluttering to a hip.
Lifting the vessel to his lips, Gilles gulped half its contents. As warmth flooded his chest and belly, he traced its path into veins and arteries, watching as inside knees and toes lit like brush. “You were so right, my love,” he said, furrows dissolving from cheeks and brow. “So much clearer now.”

© Copyright 2016 Deepam Wadds (deepamwadds at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.