I write to you next to a cup of tea.

It rests against a sliding glass door, which opens to the patio vineyard; lolling grapes drape down in the prime of their season, timeless and delicious, at nighttime we eat them like popcorn in the sunroom and put the extra bunches in a bowl of water in the fridge for tomorrow. At the top of the South Island, the early evening is just chill enough, the tea steaming just enough, that a breath creeps up from the lip of the mug, up the sliding glass door like a dance.

I haven’t written to you in months.

Well–actually: I write to you constantly. Over jazzy mugs of Cosmo coffee, curled up on the cheap Turkish rug from the lost and found bin in Twizel; under tree bush bridges while leaves swagger down upon me, coming to rest on the pages of my notebook; next to swirling incense, the lazy ones I picked up in a backcountry hut in the Sounds, the scent of ‘nirvana’ cutting through the lonely dark nights like a candle.

And I tell you everything.

I start with the flow of today’s safari: how Cosmo’s burly masculine tires crunch cracker-like against the gravel that snakes up backcountry New Zealand, how we climb to the top and both utter gasps; mine for the lakes and seas and oceans unlocked from the trees, containing impossible amounts of space. Cosmo gives a gasp because he’s tired and old; tired from the work of hauling us up mountains, but only old because his life expectancy is less than mine. Otherwise, I remind him, we are the same age.

Then sometimes I tell you about what I’m reading. I find delicious books in fluorescent places; the book swaps in hostels, the free bins outside the local community church, the racks upon racks of small town library book sales. My eyes scan Kerouac, Tolle, M. Scott Peck, Jonasson, One Hundred Years of Solitude–how fitting, how apt!–On the Road–it’s true! It’s true!–Hamlet–‘though this be madness, yet there is method in’t’.

Then I tell you how it feels. How it all feels. How I feel that it feels, in relative solitude, unsure how it’s supposed to feel or if it’s supposed to feel other than how it does feel; if it feels different for others. I tell you that frankly: I’ve stopped concerning myself with the supposed tos and I’ve given up on giving up the pen until the page is full and criss-crossed. I feel like you can appreciate it.

I tell you more than this, too. Much more. I tell you about the dreams that swim from my soul, mingling around my vision at the edges, the plans I scrawl on café napkins in small town bakeries; then I write to you in passionate renunciation of planning in favor of esoteric existence and presence. But then I tell you that sometimes these dreams feel like jazz, a sinewy swing.

I hear you answer.

You tell me how good it is to swing and jive through the tussock fields, turning left here, turning right here, backwards and upwards into waiting places. That the leading agent of life is in the center of my chest. You tell me to resist anything better than my own diversity / breathe the air but leave plenty after me.

Although its been a few months since you’ve read what I’ve written to you, and I can’t promise the return of consistency, please know: I write to you constantly.

Peace and blessings,
Josie

6 Comments on “Afternoon Tea

  1. I feel like you wrote this just for me! God, I miss you!

    You are such a talented and beautiful writer. I couldn’t be prouder.

    Like

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