Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.- Thich Nhat Hanh
He tells me I’m like a warm cup of tea. I have a brief image of us, the first night I met him: I’m buried in an avalanche of pillows in his college dorm and he’s reading short stories out loud. I hear a flash of his voice, touch a corner of a cream-colored cardigan, and feel my thoughts roll to a stop.
Our conversations have become a pocket of stillness in the day, the only thing that exists is the smooth lull of someone’s voice from the other side of the world. The static crackles in phone calls, there is the always present disorientation of our flipped days, the sun beating in Hyderabad as the moon dangles in San Francisco.
Similar to a tea meditation. I was introduced to the concept in the Himalayas when I was 18. It is when one is completely absorbed in the act of making tea, crushing tea leaves by hand, finding music in the whistle of a kettle, feeling the steam waft into your eyes as the ceramic cup is filled. Concentrating on your own breath with each movement.
Talking to you goes like this: Hearing the phone ring, steady and consistent, the satisfying click as our lines connect, as you clear your throat and say: “hello?”, or “yo” or “sup?”, depending on the time of day. I am listening intently for clues. Where are you now? The clinking of metal and glass and buzz of faint voices indicate that you’re at a cafe. Midday in Seoul. The sound of public transport, the noises of the street blaring in the background. In the heart of Japan. Indistinct shouting in the background and you, drunk and excited. 1 am in Hyderabad.
My favourite times are when there is no sound besides your voice. When your voice, scratchy from hours of un-use sounds like there are still dreams clinging. Those are the moments where life seems to reach a stand-still. The chaos that made a home in my mind immediately dissipates and the only thing I think about is you on the opposite line, and I can almost see you, sprawled in bed, bleary-eyed and content.