The Gardener and the Tea Mage
The wind chimes sounded lazy dulcet tones in the gentle breeze. It spread a smile across the woman’s crinkled face. She sighed, digging through pot plants to remove weeds from her little paradise in the small walled garden.
The chimes were quickly drowned out – by a jackhammer, then a car horn. The tranquillity faded.
“I hate this place,” she stood and groaned.
Her children meant well, packing her up and shipping her into the city. It was so they could keep an eye on her now that she was alone. But she was miserable.
The bin was too far away to bother. Shoving the weeds into her apron pocket she tore off her gloves, tossed them on the table and hobbled into her tiny home.
“Bugger, no tea.”
She grabbed her walking stick, removed the apron from her neck and wrapped it around her waist, bracing herself for the streets. The city was built from red brick and wrought iron, lit warmly in the afternoon sun which she enjoyed. But no one else slowed down to enjoy it. Rushing pedestrians flowed around her like water around stone.
She stopped across from the super market, busy, too busy. She sighed, but noticed a hanging sign of a tea cup swaying down the street. Odd, she hadn’t noticed that before.
Intrigued, she hobbled over. An entrance led down shallow steps into a basement. It brimmed with the scent of steaming brews, with comfy seats lit by lamps, and windows set into the wall tops, in line with the footpath outside.
“Welcome,” the tea maker was an elderly gentleman with a warm smile, “Have a seat.”
She sat with a sigh as he hobbled over. “A newcomer,” he said, “Liking my humble shop?”
“It is a bit bare,” she smiled. It had nothing but worn art lining the brickwork, “Could use some greenery.”
“Sadly, I have none.”
Smirking she pulled the weeds from her apron, “A small start.”
The tea maker reverently took them and placed them in a cup by the window. “They will be beautiful!”
She chuckled, “They’re only weeds, and not usually what people display.”
“Nonsense, they are hardy and beautiful for surviving in such a place, even if no one appreciates them.” He gestured to the passing feet on the footpath through the basement windows. He wiggled his fingers over the cup which filled with soil, the weeds grew tall and blossomed with flowers. She gasped, and he winked at her. “I tell you what. You bring me a cutting every time you come here, and I’ll give you a free cuppa.”
“Sounds…” she hesitated, but not from fear of the magic she witnessed, “… Like a deal.”
The place was quiet and cosy and the man seemed nice, lonely and in search of a friend to accompany him in his little paradise. She was happy to oblige.
As the days passed into weeks, the shop teemed with green irregularities. She and he would spend whole afternoons in friendly companionship as the world passed by outside.
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