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In January, Elsa got new neighbors.  She greeted them with apple cinnamon tea.

It gets so cold, here, they told her, shivering in overstuffed parkas.  Snow had turned to mud in their front hall—an unavoidable side-effect of moving in winter.  Elsa nodded along to their complaints and observations, silently brewing the tea in their kitchen.  They were young; they had big plans.  Allison and Steve, newlyweds, just starting out.  They sat on the cold floor together, sipping with chapped lips.  The house filled with cinnamon.

In April, Allison knocked on Elsa's door.  We're pregnant!  White tea in a china teacup; the taste of flower petals and champagne.  The last caffeine for the next eight months.  Elsa let her keep the cup.

In May, Steve bought a carseat and a crib.  Elsa helped him carry it inside.  Flat-packed, but heavy.  Sturdy.  Allison and Elsa sipped celebratory peppermint, watching Steve fumble with wood glue and a hammer.  Her mother was sewing a quilt, green and yellow because they didn't want to know.

In June, it was Steve.  His face was stretched, too tight in some places, sagging in others.  She gave him chamomile (soothing, with a hint of earth) and sat him at the kitchen table.  We lost the baby.  Elsa didn't say anything.  She'd known before he walked in the door.

In July, they sat on the stoop, watching children ride bikes and run through sprinklers.  Elsa brought pitcher after pitcher of cold green tea.  Sometimes it had lemon wedges, sometimes oranges.  On the hottest days, she added mint.  By August, Allison stopped coming outside.

In November, Elsa joined them for Thanksgiving.  She hadn't been invited—no one had been invited—but she refused to let them be alone.  She brewed blackcurrant, for warmth and sorrow.  Steve chattered about nonsense for hours.  Allison didn't speak.

In December, they rang the doorbell.  We're moving.  Elsa bought them a teapot, stuffed with apple cinnamon and white and green and blackcurrant.  She left out the chamomile.  Steve seemed relieved.

When they left, Elsa made African rooibos (roots and sunshine and all things lost), and drank it sitting on the kitchen floor.
For #theWrittenRevolution's Anniversary Contest ([link]): "Intense emotion mixed with something neutral (e.g. sensory perception/math equations)", and a bit of "A specific part of the day, over a span of time, to tell a story".

Questions:

1. Does the form work for you? If not, how would you change it?
2. Does it fit the premises for the contest?
3. Suggestions?


(for #theWrittenRevolution: [link])

edit 5/23/12: Because I am very dim, I forgot to mention that the contest is now closed (as of April 4th, actually...:blush:). I won second place for prose!

...and a DLD. And a DD. Holy crap.

edit 12/3/12: The ever amazing *disrhythmic has done a reading (here: [link]) for #Elocutionists. Amazing reading, amazing group. You should check them both out!
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2012-05-23
Teatime by ~anapests-and-ink Suggester Writes: "The joy of tea is rediscovered in this quaint, though undeniably emotionally moving piece. Beautiful in its circularity. ( Suggested by Amberlouie and Featured by BeccaJS )
:iconpearwood:
pearwood Featured By Owner Oct 5, 2017  Hobbyist Photographer
Beautiful. Still makes me sad. But live goes on and we do our best to travel along with it.
Reply
:icontheladyyuki:
TheLadyYuki Featured By Owner Sep 7, 2017
There are so many things I love about this piece - the rich descriptions in particular - but one thing that stands out is how Elsa never once says a word. She's just silently supportive throughout their good times and bad, and it makes the ending and the idea of "what could have been" all the more sorrowful when they leave.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Sep 8, 2017  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you.  This is a very insightful comment.  I'm a little embarassed to admit that I hadn't noticed Elsa's silence until you pointed it out.  You made me feel far more clever than I am.  :heart:
Reply
:iconcristinewakesuphappy:
cristinewakesuphappy Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
:iconcongratsdd1plz::iconcongratsdd2plz::iconcongratsdd3plz:
this is a lovely lovely read.
Reply
:iconhopeburnsblue:
hopeburnsblue Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2015  Professional Writer
Got tears in my eyes reading this. So well done.
Reply
:icontemporaryreality:
temporaryreality Featured By Owner Apr 17, 2015  Hobbyist Artist
Lovely, just wonderful
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:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Apr 18, 2015  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you.  :heart:
Reply
:iconfundelstein:
Fundelstein Featured By Owner Apr 28, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
The fewest words often make the most emotional impact. A beautiful work. 

And I love tea!
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:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Apr 30, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you!  And thanks for the fav, too.  :heart:
Reply
:iconyokasobi:
Yokasobi Featured By Owner Feb 20, 2014
I like how everything is connected to tea— the one stable, constant thing, even though the flavors change.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you. :heart:
Reply
:iconsirius-the-dog:
Sirius-the-Dog Featured By Owner Feb 15, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Very lovely minimalism. Why tell a story like this in 100,000 words when you can tell it in 600?
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Feb 18, 2014  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! I'm not sure it even ended up being 600 words.
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:iconfancybark:
FancyBark Featured By Owner Sep 26, 2013  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
This made me miss that beautiful you.  It's a brilliant write and I am so happy you got this kind of attention from it.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Sep 29, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Miss you too.  I'm glad you liked this.  :heart:
Reply
:iconpearwood:
pearwood Featured By Owner Jun 29, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
Read it again.  It's one of your very best.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! It was one of those where I posted it and I thought "I could retire on this, and it would be okay."
Reply
:iconpearwood:
pearwood Featured By Owner Jul 1, 2013  Hobbyist Photographer
I've had one or two of those.  "If this photograph were the only thing you knew about me, it would be enough."
Reply
:iconanondesu:
AnonDesu Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Aw man, this is great :>

I could talk about the like, juxtaposition of like, the tea and the realness, but you already know that.

The simplicity is what drives this, you know? Like, the quietness (not silence) of it all. It's subtle. Like the light floral undertone in a good Ti Kuan Yin.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
A little embarrassed to admit it, but I had to look up Ti Kuan Yin--and now I absolutely must try it.

"Quietness" is very much what I was going for with this piece. I'm very glad you got it!

(and thank you for the fav!)
Reply
:iconanondesu:
AnonDesu Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Hahah, don't worry about it. I worked at a tea shop for way too long, and this was the first time I really got to bust out that knowledge outside of business :P
Reply
:iconpoetryod:
PoetryOD Featured By Owner Jan 10, 2013
Hey there I featured this piece here and just thought I'd let you know.

Thanks!
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Jan 11, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :heart:
Reply
:iconliliwrites:
LiliWrites Featured By Owner Jan 6, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
This was a perfect application of the prompt. It was not melodramatic, which is the mark of a mature writer. :) Excellent work! Congrats on your DD. :heart:
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Jan 7, 2013  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! I tried very hard to keep away from the melodrama. It's way too easy to slip into with a topic like this.
Reply
:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Dec 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Hi there! Just a note to let you know I've featured this piece in my 2012 showcase of 100 pieces of literature: [link] :D
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much! I'm honored!
Reply
:iconsilverinkblot:
SilverInkblot Featured By Owner Dec 29, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
:)
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Dec 4, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Just been listening to the recording of your story ^^ It's odd, but hearing it read aloud took me straight back to how I felt when I read it for the first time. Rather sad deep inside - feeling like crying but suspecting that isn't going to help. It's a brilliant story.

Another little odd thing - first time I've heard someone say your name out loud. I was strangely moved ^^
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
It's very weird, isn't it? I think with the whole internet thing, there's this notion of silence, of a sort of anonymity that can't be broken by something as personal as someone's voice. *disrhythmic did a beautiful reading, though.
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'll admit I was bizarrely thrilled to hear what =SilverInkblot sounded like ^^" I read her journal entries and she talks about quite a lot of personal stuff but it's not the same as hearing someone's voice. I was curious ^^"

Would you ever consider reading any of your own work? (I seem to remember you have a few reservations about your voice but...) I'm keen to give it a whirl myself, now I've seen (heard) it done. Have to get a proper microphone first ^^"
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I'm not sure if I would. I think the sound of my own voice might really bother me. (that's an incredibly odd statement; I apologize for it) But I would love to hear some of yours!
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Dec 9, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I think it's very difficult to judge what your own voice sounds like but I suppose it's what you feel comfortable with. I really want to try it myself though. (As those who know me in real life will attest - I love the sound of my own voice ^_^)

I was thinking: it might be a good idea for a group - spoken interviews ^^ Would be more complicated I suppose - interviewer and interviewee would be in different states. Or continents. Questions and answers would have to be recorded separately and edited together. I wonder if there's someone I could suggest this to...
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Can Skype sessions be recorded, I wonder? I know you can do them as just voices, without the whole video part (or at least, you could when I first used it). I think it's a very interesting idea for a group. At the very least, it would make an interesting set of news article.
Reply
:iconscfrankles:
SCFrankles Featured By Owner Dec 11, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Never thought about Skype... ^^" I know what it is but I've never used it. I've no idea whether conversations can be recorded - I should probably look into it ^^
Reply
:icondisrhythmic:
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Nov 27, 2012
Hi. :wave: I'm a reader for #Elocutionists and I read this out loud. I'd love to put it up on our blog ([link]), if that's alright with you. You can listen to my reading here: [link] :heart:

Let me know if you like it. <3 I loved reading it.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I would be honored!
Reply
:icondisrhythmic:
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012
It's posted! [link]

If you wouldn't mind adding that link to the description, I can submit this to the #Elocutionists gallery. :heart:
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Done. :)
Reply
:icondisrhythmic:
disrhythmic Featured By Owner Dec 3, 2012
:heart:
Reply
:iconsammur-amat:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Nov 25, 2012   General Artist
You have a powerful way with words and this piece is testament. Wonderful job and late as it is, congratulations on the greatly deserved DD! :heart:
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you so much!
Reply
:iconsammur-amat:
Sammur-amat Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012   General Artist
You are most welcome, wonderful soul:heart:
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Nov 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
beautiful piece.
makes me wish I liked tea :/ I love the idea of it and the idea of it is so wonderfully written here.
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! Not everyone has a love for tea. :)
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
true, true. :)
Reply
:iconpossumfan:
PossumFan Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Wow... I love the way this story is told. <3 Great work!

+ fave
Reply
:iconanapests-and-ink:
anapests-and-ink Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Thank you! :)
Reply
:iconpossumfan:
PossumFan Featured By Owner Jul 16, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
You're welcome! :)
Reply
:iconlinderel:
linderel Featured By Owner Jul 13, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This is beautiful. And, as a tea lover, I wholeheartedly approve.
Reply
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