Sunday, August 13, 2006

"Tea with Strangers" Part 2

I had another visit with the wonderful Mrs. M, my seamstress. Actually, I have had several visits, as we have become fast friends. She greeted me at the door with a huge smile and a warm hug, well meant happiness in her voice as she welcomed me into her humble home. To my surprise, there was a young man sitting at our tea table, already set with the ritual I have come accustomed to. Mrs. M instructed me to sit down, as she was finishing up a telephone transaction. Mr. C stared at me as I made myself comfortable and began filling my tiny plate with the tea cakes and dried fruits and nuts. I politely introduced myself and he displayed a certain amount of confusion and interest as he told me his name and why he was there. (Just dropping off a new suit needing alterations for a job interview in two weeks.) Mrs. M hung up the phone and noted that we had made the necessary introductions. A steaming cup of tea was already placed in front of the big newcomer wearing a base ball cap and Mrs. M poured me a cup. The aromatic mist drifted up to my face, florals and spices combined. I readied my tea and began nibbling on this feast that had a different feel because of the new stranger. The doorbell rang and Mrs. M excused herself. Mr. C glanced over at me with that scared doe look and I internally chuckled as he tried to lift that tiny tea cup with his big, manlike hand. He took a little sip, for posterity sake, and cleared his throat. We then had a conversation that went like this...

"Is this your first time Mr. C?"
"Uh, yea."
"Mrs. M is a remarkable woman."
"Uh, yea."
"You don't just drop off your clothes here, you get a feast, a history lesson and the privilege of getting to know her as a friend. Expect this again, for future reference..."
"Uh, yea, I mean, I was...just on my way home...and she made me sit down...and then you came in...and here we are." *chuckle chuckle*
"Do you like tea Mr. C?"
"Not really, this is my first time."
"Having tea?...or having a Tea Party at noon?"
"Uh, both...I'm a coke man myself."
"Just take a few sips now and then, and the food?...nibble here and there, it's quite relaxing actually."
"Oh, sure...yes...uh, I will"
Mrs. M returned and she explained that the lovely person at her door was dropping off an order and they could not join us just now.

This is when my brain transacted a flood of thoughts. (She does this with everyone, not just me. I feel disappointed and not so special. She even invites the men to break with her? How strange. The environment is different with him here, I'm not sure I like this.) I ended with the last remnance of the word 'selfish' leering into the recesses of my musings. I sat quietly as I watched Mrs. M ask our new visitor questions, that he always answered with "uh" to start off with. I watched her smile at him and laugh, I noticed that she looked him square in the eyes and nodded at his answers and then....I saw the magic that is hers alone, begin to weave around this small space, where she entertains each stranger that enters her home. Mr. C became more comfortable, dropped his "uh's" and I joined into the conversation. We sat there for one hour exchanging life stories and laughing at fates mishaps. Mr. C drank his entire 3 ounce cup of tea and grabbed handfuls of the fruits and nuts, popping them into his mouth with his fist. The awkwardness lifted and we were all enjoying this moment in time that may never happen again. We were three very different people, each with their own life experiences. We shared them and discovered the similarities that overlapped here and there. It was Mr. C's birthday and he had a date with his wife for dinner, although I don't think he would show up very hungry, the feasting bowl was now empty. Mr. C departed, with a warm hug from Mrs. M, and said a heartfelt goodbye to me. We each knew that this may never happen again, the three of us, sitting at this table and sharing. Mrs. M returned and sat down with a sigh. She looked at me and said, "You expected us be just you and"

I looked shocked and felt my face flush with heat. "No, I mean, yes...was it that obvious?...I'm embarrassed."
"I see your eyes change, but it was nice, no?....He is nice his wife and children....his nice."

Yes, it was nice...actually, it was wonderful and warm and more than I pleasantly expected. Mr. C arrived as a stranger and left as a friend, Mrs. M's intention all along. Her house is a house of friendship. It doesn't matter if you are a woman or a man, dark skinned or light, Mrs. M wants you to leave her house changed, different, and humble. No room for selfishness here...not here.

We chatted a little while longer and then I stood up, stretching my muscles from sitting so long. Mrs. M walked me to the door and paused. She took my face in her small hands and kissed my forehead. "For good luck" she said....and then she looked me deeply in the eye and said, "You are my special friend, no?" "Yes, Mrs. M, I am your special friend and you will always be mine."


Blogger Bohemian Girl said...


what a delightful story!!! i want to hug and squeeze her.

she sound so very magical. i am thrilled that she is your new special friend. i like her effect on you and others. perhaps some day i can meet her along with you. i promise not to grab the fruits and nuts with a fist! ;)

love you tender.
lil sis boho

10:28 AM  
Blogger bb said...

"we were all enjoying this moment in time that may never happen again."

You know, so much to think about in this story, Darlene. Mrs M has such a wonderful gift, I'm sure we could all learn a lot from her.

Lucky she has you for her ambassador so we can all benefit!

love from another special friend, no? ;-)

11:34 AM  
Blogger Turquoise CRO said...

Mrs. M sounds sooooo warm and fuzzy wuzzy! I used to LOVE older women, used to be friends with sooo many, now they are dead and I am becoming the older woman! sigh
Mrs. M sounds soooo wise and I still feel soooo much as a child, hmmmmmmmmmmm, I'm GLAD she could take your face in her hands and kiss your forehead! Sounds so Sweet! Special friends are what makes the world go round, don't you think? xoooxHappy Sunday Darlene! and thanks for the delightful tea story!

1:15 PM  
Blogger brittany said...

This is hilarious! I love it! I'm in stitches! I love Mrs M. and wish I could be more like her! I hate being shy. But tea and goodies? my, my. I love that you asked him if it was his first time. too funny.

5:28 PM  
Blogger Bek said...

You ARE a special friend full stop.
Sounds like a magical day and experience... and women... you two.

3:30 AM  
Blogger Romina Bacci said...

how sweet!! i just love these stories, and your visits to Mrs. M, i can almost smell the tea...

can't wait to here more!!!


1:08 PM  
Blogger Madeleine said...

what a wonderful story, and what a wise woman. i think being a seamstress is a sideline to the other remarkable gifts she beholds.
we all need people like her and indeed Mr.C. in this world.
and we all now have the joy of this story to take with us and ponder.
it was like a flashback in time the way you told that!

6:15 PM  

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