Sunday, March 9, 2014

Burlington, Vermont — June, 2013

out of the rain and into a tea shop
we lunge for the last available table 
drop our wet things onto an empty chair 
shake ourselves off

the menu is brought by a young man with an old face
he brings a small brass bell, too

we are instructed to ring the bell 
after we've considered all the tea choices
which are mind-numbingly numerous

we are still dripping rain all over ourselves
not in the best of moods
the day got off to a rocky start
we don't sleep well in hotels

I'm not wearing the right shoes
your eyes are burning from allergies

but here is the menu
a dense tome devoted to all things Tea
and also, the little bell
it is all so dear and pretentious and exactly what it should be

you order something chilled and milky and sweet
I order lavender tea

we ask the waiter to leave the bell right there 
in the middle of the table
in case we just want to ring it again for no reason at all

we stay a long time

you order a second cup of chilled tea
I ask for something different 
something that doesn't taste like drinking a bubble bath

we watch as the candle 
(not really a candle —
more like a blob of wax in a small glass dish 
with a wick that seems like an afterthought)
burns out

after a while
you look out the window and say
it has stopped raining

looking back on everything
I think this was the best hour of our trip to Vermont