Strength does not lie in what you have. It lies in what you can give.
"It's way too early in the morning for my tea to be lecturing me."
Christen dumped precisely three spoonfuls of sugar into the tea while she waited for her toast to brown. She ripped the offensive tag off her tea bag. Kelly had given her the 'Yogi' brand tea along with other natural health foods. What a tree hugger.
Ever the creature of habit, she made her way back to her bed with wheat toast slathered in butter and honey. Just like she did every morning. She adjusted her pillows and got ready to flip on the TV. Just like all the other mornings. They all blurred away into nothingness. She absently reached for the tea and sloshed some onto her nightstand.
The sleeve of her robe would do for clean up. Now that her seventy-nine-year-old bones were settled down in bed, she wouldn't rouse them again for a towel. No real reason to move anymore anyway.
Henry had left last year, only to die in a younger woman's arms. Serves him right, the old bastard. She had given her best years to him, given up her figure to give him children, and what did he give her? Shit. That's what. Pure shit.
Christen sipped the hot tea. At least it tasted good, even if it was preachy. What did the fruitcakes at the tea factory know anyway? She had given everything to Henry. She snorted. The act of giving hadn't made her strong. It left her weak. And old. And alone.
She had nothing--nothing but a couple spoiled brats. The only one that stayed close was a Mother-Earth- worshiping hippie that wanted to sponge off her social security checks. Wasn't Kelly supposed to be the one taking care of her now?
"The moment I become a burden, it's off to the nursing home with me."
She lost her appetite. Stupid tea. Stupid, fateful tea. That's how it always starts.
At least that is how her relationship with Henry started. He had been nice, but nothing more. She shook her head. No, he had been more-- annoying. And those stupid jokes. She rolled her eyes. Always with the goofy jokes. She could've done better. He wasn't that attractive. But she made the mistake of ordering that damn tea.
The waiter placed a hard sweet tea in front of her and with a flourish. He winked and then thunked Henry's beer down in front of him. The waiter stood close, brushing against her. "Is there anything else I can get you while you wait?"
Henry answered for her. "No. Now get the hell away from my date." He glared at the waiter until he retreated.
The awful, fateful tea worked its magic. The alcohol had her laughing at his jokes and the caffeine made her antsy enough to suggest a walk along the river.
Henry wasn't so bad after all. He had a nice jawline. And that mouth, why hadn't she noticed how sexy his mouth was earlier? She watched his lips form words. He was talking about his job as an Aircraft surfaces assembler. Whatever that was.
He was tall--looked to be six-two. She wasn't short at five-seven and required anyone she dated to be at least one or two inches taller. He was beginning to pass her tests.
The effects of the tea wore off. "I'm ready to go home now." She turned, walking in the other direction.
Henry grabbed her wrist and pulled. "I've been watching you at church."
"That's not creepy."
"I've known since the moment I saw you that I wanted to... get to know you better."
Christen looked up into his eyes for the first time and saw flecks of green floating on a sea of dark blue. More than that, she saw sincerity.
He put his hands on her hips and gently pulled her closer, moving slowly to read her reaction. "You're so beautiful. And not just on the outside. You are kind and gentle." His hands skimmed up her sides. "You're the woman I want to marry." His eyes searched her face. One deep, slow breath and he lowered his head.
The world had contracted around them. Just like in the movies. The camera spins around, light shines down from above, and noise fades to the background. Christen's fate was sealed.
She raised a trembling hand to her lips, tingling with phantom sensations. She wiped away a tear. The old, dead bastard. May he forever rotate in his grave. Her tea sat on her nightstand, quietly challenging her. What did she have left to give?
She threw off the blankets and stood. "Let's see where this hippie tea takes me."