I pour some of my green tea in a small cup, half of it or so. It’s a small cup. Colorful circles on it, tiny handle just big enough for his still small fingers to fit through. I got them from a garage sale, overpaid. I knew they were small when I got them, I knew that. Their hands would still curl around the handle the right way, I thought. He sips and the playful spark in his eyes makes it across the table and dances on my face. Wait…
“I feel so grownup when I drink green tea, mom. It has caffeine, right?”
“Yes, it does, not much…” I don’t mean to take it away from him. His eyes sparkle. I think of myself having black tea with my mom, I remember the kitchen stools, off-white and good to sit on. The red and white cupboard with a place for all my mom’s special things, the smell of summer mornings and winter nights, my mom’s voice. I remember feeling the outside of the cup, smooth and warm. My mom’s voice. All the untold stories. The house is gone now, the kitchen in a place I don’t own. I didn’t know to say it. It’s so good to have tea with you…
“Sasha, do you want to taste?”
When you’re six it’s not the same. It tastes a bit bitter and taste-less. The tip of his tongue comes out to chastise us for offering the unsweet drink and his eyes twinkle the “is he trying to fool me?” look. But no, I want to say, your big brother wanted you to taste that feeling. It’s a big one. When you’re six, tea doesn’t taste like anything.
“Can I have some hot chocolate instead, mom?..”
Tony smiles. I smile. Stay a while… He will, for now. He can taste the tea. The kitchen chairs sleep under us like camels. Maple colored camels taking us to places we will smell in our dreams. Places we’ll hide in our hearts and peek at and never let go. Places we’ll cry about every now and then and we’ll lay out in the scorching sun to dry like colorful carpets. Roll them up, keep going. The joy in the journey, I tell the boys all the time. It is, it is. No regrets.
“Can I have some coffee with you soon?”
“Soon, my love…” Soon is far, the witch inside of me wants to keep them mine and small. Selfish. I let them go, not yet… He steals a sip from my cup and runs to play with his brother. Pitter patter. Pitter patter. The sound of their feet. The song of their bare feet all over my heart. Echoes…