A contribution to the Tea & me project for the Queensland state library about a special cup of tea from my memory. I hope they’ll like it. Why not go and share your story, picture of video as well. I think this is a wonderful project. How many stories do we know about the cuppa, a cup and having a cuppa with friends?
She cycled the streets of the dry Northern City. The city where it rarely rained. The city with the wide roads, that sometimes flooded when the king tides came in.
She had come from Japan to improve her English, to learn about another culture, the culture of a dry Northern Town. So she cycled the long wide roads to meet the woman she was going to practice conversation with. A woman with frizzy hair and dark smiling eyes opened the door and offered her tea.
Why had she chosen her out of all the people she had met in this Northern Town? She had a soft spoken voice that was clear and easy to understand. She did not announce herself when she came into a room but you could sense she was aware of everything. She seemed to be of the place and yet not of the place. She had an air of ‘recently-moved-here’ about her.
They met each week at the lady’s house. She rode there on her bike. The lady she visited did not own a bike. This she could not imagine. Everyone where she came from rode bikes. The city was pretty flat, humid and hot- with a saint on the mountain.
The lady with the frizzy hair showed her home on an Atlas- two places Tasmania and another Papua New Guinea. She was a child of two cultures.
And now maybe three, the culture of Northern Towns. They sipped their tea carefully. They honoured each other stories by listening.
One day it was the Japanese lady’s birthday and so the Frizzy haired girl with the medium brown skin, gave her some dreamtime tea. This was a very touching gesture, and something to be honoured. To her surprise the next time the frizzy haired girl saw her friend- which was a while because she had gone for a short trip home, she gave her a pink and blue kimono.
What became of this promising friendship? A post card, and a letter, and then one returned home and the other moved away from the Northern Town.
The friendship became a memory of conversations sipping dreamtime tea, sitting in kimonos in a Northern Queensland town. It became a pearl to be dived for and something that came to her like a scent of Jasmine and hibicus when she returned to the north.
(c) all rights reserved June Perkins