Afternoon Tea.

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She moved slowly, she was getting older now but it needed to be done. She had almost expected some kind of feeling of loss as her mobility was reduced, but really, she had nothing to worry about. There was a lift in the house that she could use and Patrick was still very helpful. He was out now, so she had to make the tea herself. Her friends were experiencing the same problems as she was, so they did not mind the extra few minutes wait.

She pottered around the kitchen as the kettle boiled, she was becoming more forgetful, Patrick was supposed to put labels up on the cupboards for her, label where the tea was, and the cups. She knew where the milk was though, most days anyway. Eventually she found a tray, then, laying it down began to get cups and saucers. He had done that much at least. Carefully, she poured the water into the cups, paused for a moment, then remembered the tea bags.

Adding the milk to the tray, she picked it up, proud to note that the tray barely shook, and together, they made their way into the tea room. She was most proud of this room, something which Patrick could attest too. He had been in the room a grand total of five times in his life. Only twice when she allowed it. The others times were when he was a child, twice when he was too young to understand the room was off limits and once, late at night when he took a wrong turn after going to get a drink during the night.

The room was still free of dust, she dusted though it took her longer than it had before, it was the only room she still took care of cleaning herself, Patrick took care of the other rooms.  The carpet was a tasteful white, deep and comfortable. The decorations were slightly old fashioned, but still stylish, at least, in her opinion. There was a large table with enough seating for six, but now, only four seats were filled. Angelica was unable to make it today, she had fallen and broken her arm, it was a terrible fall, but she would mend. Eventually.

Carefully, so carefully, she set the tray down and passed around the cups, offering tea and milk. She had even remembered the sugar and biscuits. She didn’t need any return trips today.  Each murmured their thanks for the tea and she sat down, gratefully.

Their visit did not last as long as she would have liked, but it was pleasant none the less. Once they were gone, she surveyed the cups left behind. She did not want to clean, but she knew Patrick would do a poor job. Slowly, she moved the cups back onto the tray, Patrick could clean them once they were in the kitchen.  She would just leave the tray out for him. He would take care of it.

Using a cloth she wiped down the table, then began her inspection, as she had done after every time she had tea in the tearoom. First, the table was checked for stains and crumbs, if any were found they would be removed, then, she circled the table and checked if there were any stains or crumbs on either the chairs or the floor. She vacuumed once a week, she used to shampoo the carpet monthly, but she hadn’t been able to do it for almost a year now. Her final checks took almost two hours, but once they were done she felt better.

It was getting late and Patrick had not returned yet. She knew he had his own life to live and she tolerated this, but she did not like him coming home late. She worried and he knew this. Still, she was tired, it would be time for her snack, then she would go for a nap, maybe she would sleep until morning. Before she would have been horrified by the idea, but there was nothing for her to do, she had no obligations to fulfil. A long sleep might just be what she needed.

In the kitchen, she reminded herself to tell Patrick to finish labelling the cupboards, she really needed them to be labelled now. She was getting forgetful. She made herself a sandwich, she took a bite out of it, enjoying the taste, then, turning she went to the fridge. A glass of ice tea would go well with her snack. She surveyed the fridge. It was getting emptier now. She would need Patrick to go shopping soon. The ice tea pitcher was empty. She had really wanted some.