Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: COFFEE BREAK / TEA BREAK (03/01/18)
- TITLE: Beneath the Willow Tree
By Yvonne Blake
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A round table topped with a white, lacy cloth scarcely held all the dishes employed today. A porcelain tea pot towered over everything else like the queen of her kingdom. There were sweet vanilla biscuits and spicy butter pickles. There were even containers of lemon slices, honey, sugar cubes, and cream – for anyone’s preference of tea.
The loveliest lady was busy arranging a handful of lily-of-the valleys. When she saw me, her face dimpled with joy, and she reached out her slender arms. “You’re here! Sit down. Everything is ready.”
My knees bumped my elbows and the edge of the table as I perched on a low scrolled, iron-wrought chair. I hoped I wouldn’t tip anything over. “It’s very pretty. Did someone help you?”
My little hostess darted her blue eyes at me, and cocked her wide straw bonnet, shaming me for even dare to ask. She stood to lift the teapot in both her white-gloved hands and began to pour the amber liquid in my cup. Her hands shook and spilled some on her spotless tablecloth. “Oh, dear!” she blurted and set the pot down quickly.
“Would you like me to pour?” I offered.
“Oh, would you, please? I’ve made a mess of things, haven’t I?” She tottered back to her seat in her pointed heels, which poked holes in the grass with each step. With a sigh and humph, she plopped on her chair and smoothed her skirt over her knees.
I put cream and sugar in my tea, and she had lemon and honey in hers. The rose-painted cups tinkled as we stirred with the silver spoons. I held the slender cup handle between my thumb and fore-finger, lifting my pinky and sipping slowly, of course.
Time stood still as we chatted beneath the willow tree. The sunbeams danced through the leaves and down onto our heads and the lacy table. A breeze carried the soft scent of the lilies. We talked of the warm weather and Saucy having kittens. She asked about my day and if I wanted another sweet biscuit, and I complimented her on her new dress and told her about the new family that moved in down the street.
A chime from a clock drifted through the kitchen window and across the garden grass. My hostess turned with pout. “Is it three o’clock already?” Her eyes watered and her smile drooped as she put her cup back on its saucer.
I dabbed the corners of my mouth with the soft cloth napkin on my lap. “I’ve got to go. You know that.” Unfolding my bent knees, I ducked beneath the willow branches and held out my hand to help her up. “I have to go back to work, but it was good to spend the afternoon with you.”
She pulled me down to plant a kiss on my cheek. “Don’t forget to come tomorrow. I’ll be waiting for you.”
I smiled and doffed my yellow hard hat. “I won’t, Mum. I’ll be here.”
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