His & Hers
“Are these for me? Oh, Dana, you know you didn’t have to bring me anything.”
“Keep them, please.”
“Both of them? But don’t you want to keep one?”
“No,” she said. “I don’t.”
When her aunt had called her up and asked if she would mind to visit that afternoon, she’d sighed, wished for a serviceable excuse, and agreed to be there around three. Aunt Sandra was lonely and old, and Dana was lonely and young, so it only made sense that they would spend time together when they could. Anyway, Aunt Sandra had a lot of money and not a lot of family, so it was in Dana’s best interests to keep the relationship running smoothly.
“This one is especially lovely. Look at the handles! So fancy,” Sandra said as she traced the scrolls. “This one is rather plain, but it will work well, I presume. Thank you for bringing them to me, dear.”
“You’re welcome, Auntie.”
She’d shoved the pair of tea strainers into her purse just before she left the house. They were hidden in the back of the silverware drawer, and as she passed it on her way to the door she stopped, opened the drawer, and grabbed them out. It had been a split-second decision and she hadn’t let herself re-think it. The fancy strainer–the curly-handled one–had been hers; the utilitarian basket was his.
He was an herbal tea connoisseur. God, is there anything more pretentious? she’d often thought lately. He’d left his own strainer at her house within the first two weeks, and brought her the pretty one as a gift shortly thereafter. He found it at an antique market outside of town and wrapped it up in brown paper. She opened it and smiled–he wanted her to drink tea, like him.
He drank his tea unsweetened, of course, so that he could get the full flavor of it. She had filled the bottom of her mug with honey for the first month, then slowly gotten down to a teaspoon, and had nearly stopped using it altogether when he broke things off with her. Though she’d been telling friends how much better she felt now that she was drinking tea regularly, how the herbs had really cleansed her and given her more energy, she hadn’t had a cup of it since he texted her that things probably weren’t going to work out with the two of them.
“Well, would you like to have a cup of tea now, dear?” Sandra asked. “It’s cold out, after all, and I have some loose-leaf Earl Grey in the cupboard.”
Dana thought for a moment, then picked up the fancy strainer and handed it to her aunt.
“You know, that sounds lovely,” she said. “And can I have mine with two sugars?”