“More tea, dear?”
She shifted her weight in her seat, trying not to sound impolite.
“No, thank you. It’s really good, but you now that kind of drink…”
“Is not exactly your ‘cup of tea’?” He answered, enjoying her subtle smile at his very obvious pun.
“That’s my middle name, you know?”
He poured himself a fresh cup of English Breakfast, filling the atmosphere with delicate herbal scents.
“So, what’s your secret?” She asked as he sipped from the white China bowl.
“There’s no secret, just a lot of love, humor and patience, mixed and matched as necessary.”
She sat gazing at her own empty cup while he slowly savored the contents of his.
“Aw, come on. You really mean to tell me you’ve been happy together for so many years just with that? Seriously?”
He emptied the last of his cup, enjoying the lingering warmth in his mouth.
“Ok, I’ll let you in on the only real secret.” He said, hushing his voice and looking around with the full theatrical exaggeration of an accomplished silent film actor.
“Stop it!” She giggled. “You’re being too silly.”
“Oh, but that’s the only proper way to share a secret, with joyful seriousness so it has room enough to fly into your heart. If you lead it down with dead graveness it’ll just plop to the ground and die.”
She stared at him, no longer sure if he was joking.
“The reason we’re still happy together is because we’re both incredibly stubborn.”
She couldn’t help but do a double take.
“Yes…” He continued. “–It took us way too long to bump into someone so much like ourselves to be able to really get along yet different enough to keep things interesting.”
“Um, yeah… I can get that vibe off you two. But what does stubbornness has to do with it?”
“Everything.” He answered. “Even at the worst of times it’s been our saving grace.”
“I think you’ve lost me there.”
“It’s very simple. One morning we looked into each other’s eyes and decided we were happy together. Ever since that day we’ve both stubbornly fought with tooth and nail to make sure it stays that way.”
She stared at him silently for a long time.
“You know?” She finally said, looking at the bottom of her empty cup. “That sounds crazy enough to actually make some sort of weird sense.”
“You did ask. Are you quite sure you won’t join me with more tea?”
“Very sure, yes.”
“Then perhaps it’s good I brought this friend along.” He said, placing a bottle of finely aged bourbon and two shots on the table.
“NOW you’re talking!” She smiled widely.
“A toast, to stubbornness.” He said, as he filled the shots and raised his.
“To stubbornness.” She answered, clinking the glasses together.