Tea For Two

Ebtisam (not her real name) came from the middle eastern part of the globe. Some 45 years ago, her family: husband, wife, and three children, with ages 3-9 years old, broke roots from a place she termed as “stagnant” and replanted themselves in what she called the “land of the free and the home of infinite possibilities and opportunities”. To start a life in a country so distinctly different from where they came from, was a challenge. They had to learn how to speak and understand the language; they had to blend in and adapt to change…they had to survive in an entirely different environment. Needless to say, as years passed by, their family was able to adapt, coped, and aimed to for the so-called “American Dream”, just like the many hopeful and determined immigrants who came to America with a vision to find, and strive for a better future.

That was then… Now, all her children are grown-up, successful in their chosen career, and have a busy family life and a home of their own. She and her husband are nearing their twilight years. Both of them are retired and receiving Social Security checks. Her husband, although still able to walk with the aid of a cane and do some household chores, is no longer capable of providing personal care to her, let alone carry or assist her in transfers. She is wheelchair-bound. Her husband and children made the hardest and heart-wrenching decision to have her be admitted to live in a skilled nursing facility, where her needs can be catered 24-7. She hesitantly agreed, as at this point in time, it would be the best option.

One item that she could not part with and brought with her when she transferred to the nursing home, was a pair of Royal Albert teacup and saucer set. This piece of china ware was the very first precious possession that she purchased as soon as she was able to save enough money. She said that she bought it from a second-hand store near the place where they lived in San Francisco. It was still in good condition, almost new. For so many decades, she and her husband uses it every day to drink their morning tea. Even with meager means, they make it a point to have tea as part of their morning after meal drink, and using such a beautiful tea set makes her day worthwhile. To her, this tea set serves as a common and strong bond between her and her husband.

Even when she is already living in a skilled nursing facility, they still continue their morning tea rendezvous. Four times a week, her husband never fails to visit her, arriving at round nine in the morning, bringing a freshly brewed tea in a thermos jug. From her room, he will wheel her in a corner table in the facility’s dining area. He will take out their special cup and saucer set, each piece delicately wrapped with a soft cloth, in a wooden box. She then carefully sets the pair on the table, pours tea, and facing each other, starts to savor the liquid; happiness and contentment can be seen in their faces while they talk and drink their morning tea… just the two of them, just like the old times.


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