T(ea) is for Toasts
by Liz Rathbone
I like Josh.
He reminds me of a friend I had in Texas who always knew how to make me laugh when I was most upset or anxious. Josh and I didn’t know each other well when we lived in College Station, but he has the same effect on me as my old friend, making letting my guard down easier when he was around.
After making a journey of over 2,800 miles to get to Seattle, Josh paid me a visit and temporarily cured me of my loneliness by providing a familiar face and some much-needed conversation. We spent most of the evening laughing and commenting on the newness of Seattle and living in a big city.
The conversation naturally turned into a game of questions, some serious, some not.
“What’s your favorite place to shop?” he asked me.
“For what?” I replied while staring at the empty space on the wall across from my couch where I planned on hanging new picture frames.
I lost it. I turned on my side and laughed until tears ran down my cheeks. I don’t know why it was so funny, but the laughter was contagious. Between my violent, body-shaking laughter I could hear Josh’s calmer, but steady laughter beside me.
As the laughter died down and I wiped the tears from my eyes, I turned to look at Josh. He was focused on the same space on the wall now and had seemed to calm down faster than me. We both sighed and were silent for a moment.
“I want to go home.”
The conversation had turned again but I knew what the situation called for was not my immediate response that I too, wanted to go home. No, this situation called for tea.
I stood up and walked to the kitchen. I don’t have a tea-pot, so as most college students have to, I improvised and let water run through the coffee maker to boil.
“Really,” he said, breaking the silence. “If I left right now, I could be back by like, tomorrow.”
While placing the tea bags in our mugs I turned to give him a scornful face.
“Okay,” he laughed, “maybe not tomorrow.”
I poured water; the steam and earthy smell of green tea were comforting to me. Just as I handed Josh his mug, the sound of police and ambulance sirens blared outside. Together we moved to the window to see what was happening, pushing the curtains aside and staring at the street four flights below.
Loud groups of college students and the neighborhood crazies were all out, rambunctiously enjoying the night.
“We’re in for an adventure,” I said, sipping on my tea. He grunted in agreement.
There we stood, two new kids standing in a living room staring at the city lights. The tea warmed my body and calmed my nerves.
Josh turned and held his mug up to me in a toast.
“Here’s to Seattle,” he said.
I laughed and for a moment the loneliness faded. I raised my mug up to meet his.