The words “Chai Tea Latte” roll off my tongue as if I am calling my daughter’s name. Before I even have a chance to utter a syllable, the Starbucks barista knows my order and gives me a smile as I wait by the counter to be handed my liquid goodness.
On Friday, I pondered my recent passion for tea. For many years, I was a cereal and milk kind of girl. I never needed a cup of chai to provide me with a pick me up. It’s only the last few years that I’ve made chai my new breakfast obsession.
# # #
“Mom’s not here yet, Dad. I know she has a thermos full of chai, but she is running a little late.” My voice is cracking and my eyes have a deep brown undertone, a clear indication I need sleep. It’s another overnight stay at the hospital with Dad and like always, I tell him, “Let me go downstairs. I will get some chai for you.”
“Ok, Rudri. I will drink that tea.” He looks tired too, but the reasons for his fatigue are far different from mine.
I exit the door to his room. The anxiety of the room jumps off as soon as I enter the elevator. My mind is on Starbucks, something normal. A part of anyone’s daily routine. “A chai tea latte please” is what I tell the man at the Starbucks counter on the first floor of the hospital. I return to the room, witness my Dad drinking some tea, and a tiny smile shows up in the corner of his mouth. He almost, as I remember it, appears happy.
# # #
Almost two years after his passing, I realize something that is so obvious. It’s me holding on. And remembering. Just a cup of tea? No, so much more. So much more.
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