Terrible Tasting Tea (or When You’re Ready)

i make my way to the booth

booth, because that’s better than a set of chairs

you stare at the table, tracing meaningless patterns with your fingers

i breath. once. twice

i try to remember that we’ve known each other for years

and years

my hand skims yours as i slide across from you

flushing, i look away but i swear you try to catch my eye

we have done this before, of course

this shop, this booth,

but not like this,

i take of sip of the tea in front of me

oh yes, their terrible tasting tea

it soothes my nerves and fogs my glasses

our eyes meet then, through the watery blur

i become increasingly aware of myself

my nervous tremor, my ragged breath

but none of that matters

not when you look at me with such wonder in your eyes

despite my attempts at not fiddling, i glance down at my hands

clammy palms

my breath catches, and i am afraid to speak

for despite the spit so obviously building up in my mouth

i feel the need to lick my lips

drink some water

i stay put say something, i dare myself

something anything

you take my hand, and i internally wince

even as relief takes over, i say nothing

not because i have nothing to say

that’s the thing

years of things to say, thoughts to reveal

they threaten to tumble clumsily, like a crowd of children

getting inside after a harsh winter recess

i fear that much like those children, you will get hurt

not that it will matter, that slight injury,

but it will be there

darling bare with me

i’ve been waiting to see

to tell you that i’ll love you for the rest of your life

when you’re ready

the waitress interrupts my thoughts

tell me when you’re ready to order

i’m not hungry, i mutter

i just want to sit with you

and sip my terrible tasting tea