“Hi, there, what can I get you today?” the voice, though sweet, shattered my concentration, which had evidently been intense because I now found myself face-to-face with the cashier. We were divided by the glass display case of teas.
“Hi! Um-Uh-Yes, I’m looking for tea.” were the words I managed to choke out. What a stupid thing to have said. Of course I was looking for tea; all they had here was tea. What else could I have been looking for? Balloons?
“…Black tea!” I stammered.
Looking into my eyes and smiling she said “Great! Well these are our black teas here. We have…” Her eyes were piercing and peculiar. I was so drawn into them that the rest of her face seemed inconsequential. They were emerald green and in stark contrast to her dark chocolate skin. I’d ever seen a black woman with green eyes before, which was a shame because it was an undeniably stunning combination. They were very expressive and kind eyes.
“Sir?” she said.
“Yes. Um. Yeah. OK, great. How’s the Earl Grey?”
“It’s good. It’s actually my favourite…” her eyes looked through me and I felt like she wasn’t being completely sincere with her recommendation, but it didn’t matter. I knew I was going to buy whatever she suggested.
Trying to save face from my previous blunders I tried to seem interested in my tea options, “And why is that?”
“The Early Grey. Why’s it your favourite? Do you like the taste, or…”
“Yup, I like the taste. It’s mellow and comfy” She said plainly, generously not criticizing my sudden inability to carry on human conversation.
“It also reminds me of the tea my Gran used to drink, so that probably has somethin’ to do with it” she chuckled. Her laugh was melodious and her nose crinkled just slightly and her eyes squinted, which somehow brought even more life to them. She must be doing something else with her time than serving blundering idiots like me tea, I thought. She was far too beautiful and intelligent to be wasted here.
The voice from behind me slunk over my shoulder once more “…Sorry, mate…I’m in a bit of hurry… Would you-“
“Right – Yes. Sorry!” I snapped back. “The Early Grey sounds good. I’ll have a tin of that, thanks!” I said, smacking a twenty dollar bill on the counter.
“Great!” She rifled through the register “And nine is your change” she chimed. I tried to swim in those smiling green eyes just a moment longer, cherishing every millisecond of intoxication. Ahhh, I thought, if only she were mine so we might share this tin of tea together on rainy a Saturday morning.
Her eyebrows furrowed, unexpectedly “Aha..excuse me, sir? I didn’t quite catch all that…”
Oh fuck! Was that aloud? That was aloud! Oh shit. “Great! Um- Have a nice day, miss! Thank you!” I turned quickly and saw a line of leering men behind me. Their faces scolding, their arms crossed, and the odd foot tapping impatiently. How rude, I thought; the tragedy of our times is that people just can’t appreciate the importance of a genuine conversation anymore. “Everyone is in such a rush these days!” I yelled as I marched for the exit in such a fury that I left both my change and my tin of tea behind. I couldn’t bear to face the snobbery of that establishment again and walked home, alone, day dreaming about those beautiful green eyes.