How to begin a blog?  I've started and neglected five-ish since 2007. Everything from a blog on world produce markets to a short-lived (one post) style blog. None have felt quite right, nor worthy of my invested time writing, as I am a writer. I write copy in the form of press releases, newsletters, marketing collateral, and the like for work and in every waking moment I'm not working, I'm plugging away at my book - yes, that's right,  I fancy myself a novelist. (At least I will when I finish my novel - today, I hit page 85.)  

However, it's a bit of a conundrum these days - being a blogless writer. So, I give in. I succumb to the outside pressures of the powers that be: as a writer, one must blog. But, just like the clever/smart kid in school (no, not mister 4.5 who does nothing but study; the Ferris Buller - yeah, you know.), I'll be recycling. No need to reinvent the wheel. This blog will be a place where I revisit past pieces - some published, some not - and pair them with travel photos that I think capture a similar aesthetic.  

And, so it begins. Below you'll find a creepy little number, I drafted in October of 2010.  Never edited - just thrown together for a "Techniques in Writing" class. There are some GLARING issues with it, but like I mention above - I ain't got no time to be messing with  stuff that isn't work or the book. All that said, it's a good haunt style piece for Halloween. So, take a read. Would love to know if it creeps you out.

 

The Tea House by Angie Mathews (copyright 2010):

 Darren requested that Stacia meet him here. The Tea House. She has never been to this part of the city. It’s seedier than her neighborhood. Different. She suspects it’s the sunlight; possibly not as much, blocked by taller buildings, or maybe the streets run north and south. She glances into The Tea House. It looks nice enough. Empty, but 6 p.m. is an odd hour to be having tea.

A soft breeze brushes her arm and she’s suddenly cold. With no sign of Darren, she decides to go ahead and get a seat inside. As she enters, a small chime signals her arrival, but after a few moments and no greeting, she moves to seat herself. The space is unique, she thinks. She must walk down a small flight of stairs to enter the dining area. Flanked by what appear to be lava rocks, the walls are dark and rough; yet seem to be encapsulating heat from the two central fireplaces. The small rectangular room is warm in the same way a body is warm. Like sleeping with her cat, Lilly.

Stacia takes a seat on a large floor pillows at a small coffee table next to one of the fireplace and touches the wall. Warm, just as she thought. She’s grateful, as she looks outside and the wind appears to be picking up, whipping around leaves and trash. Music would be the perfect complement to everything.  And, the moment she thinks it, there’s a soft strumming, the beginning of a song over the stereo system. Absolutely lovely, she thinks. The rock walls appear to be offering a sort of buffer from the outside city noises. Oh, wouldn’t it be amazing to have an intimate jazz concert here, she thinks. She looks to see if there are any flyers anywhere announcing such a thing, while also peaking to see if Darren has arrived yet. Nothing.

Continuing to glance around, she begins to wonder if The Tea House is even open. It has been a few minutes, and Stacia has not seen or heard anyone. 

“Hello, miss,” a voice comes from behind. Stacia turns to face a small, young girl with ringlets of blond long hair and shocking blue eyes. Not what I expected at a teahouse, Stacia thinks.

“Hi,” Stacia says. “Do you have a menu?”

“No, miss. We don’t have menus. We offer a small daily selection of teas paired with teacakes,” the girl says.

“Oh,” Stacia says. She is intrigued. She always appreciates specialization and businesses that feature quality over quantity and convenience. 

“What sort of tea do you like?” the girl asks.

“Well, I am meeting a friend. I should wait until he gets here to order,” Stacia says. 

“As you wish,” the girl says and walks toward the back of the dining area and disappears behind a black curtain. 

Stacia looks at her watch. 6:15. Darren is late. He is always late. She is irritated that he never calls or texts to let her know he is running behind. She finds it inconsiderate and thinks that it will be the ruin of their burgeoning relationship. But, he does have great taste, she concedes. He has picked out this place and it is one of the more interesting places she has been in the city. Stacia decides she will wait five more minutes and if he doesn’t show, she will go ahead and order without him. 

“Would you like to order without your friend,” the young girl asks a few minutes later.

“Yes. Yes, I would,” Stacia says. “What do you recommend?”

“The Yin De Hong black tea should suite you very well. It has soft hints of cocoa and a sweet finish. We pair this with our mocha teacake and cardamom spiced clotted cream.”

“Mmm. That sounds delicious. Heavenly, really. I’ll take it. Thank you,” Stacia says. 

The girl nods and returns through the black curtain. 

Stacia can’t believe her luck. She is beginning to hope that Darren won’t show at all. This teahouse is turning out to be the respite from the city she has been searching for. She wishes she had something to read and then remembers that she did put a novella in her bag this morning upon leaving her apartment. What luck. 

The young girl arrives carrying a black tray with a sturdy cast iron teapot, a red velvet potholder, a black teacup, and a caramel colored teacake the size of a large cookie, cut in half, set on a black porcelain plate, with a large dollop of a jade green colored cream. 

“Thank you,” she says. “It’s lovely.”

The girl nods and again returns through the black curtain.

Stacia pours herself a cup of tea using the velvet potholder and she loves the way it feels in her hand. Absolutely luxurious. She takes a bite of the teacake and savors the richness. Delicious, she thinks. Superb. After licking her lips and some stray cream from her fingers, she takes a sip of tea. Stacia is amazed when she can actually taste the natural hints of cocoa in the brew, and yes, she thinks, it does have a sweet finish. Impressive. 

Looking about the dining room again, it appears warmer, darker, even more intimate. If she didn’t know better she would say that the front room, from where she descended into the dining room has vanished. But, that would be impossible, she decides. It must be the light. The sun is setting and must be playing optical tricks. She takes another sip of tea and it is just as satisfying, sweet and hot as the first. Just delicious, she thinks. And, another bite of teacake.

“Mmm,” she allows herself to say out loud. She giggles at herself as she realizes she is doing a sort of seated dance on her floor pillow. Just delectable, she thinks. 

Stacia glances about the dining room again and notices that Darren is standing outside and looking in the window. She licks her finger and then raises her hand to wave at him. He puts his hands against the window to get a better look inside and Stacia waves at him again. It appears that he can’t see her. It must be the reflection of the setting sun, she decides. She pushes herself up off of the floor pillow and walks to the window straightening her skirt and waving for him to come on in. He continues to look in, but appears to not see her. He turns around to face the street and check his watch. Stacia, frustrated, decides to go out and bring him in. She turns to head to the front room, but the stairs, the front room, the front door have vanished. Impossible, she thinks. I must be turned around. 

She knocks on the window to get Darren’s attention, but he just continues to stare out towards the street, rubbing his hands together, appearing cold. She looks about for the staircase and is unable to locate the entrance. I must be losing my mind, she thinks. She laughs to herself and decides to ask the girl. She heads to the back of the dining room and searches for the black curtain, but all she can find is warm, black, lava rock. Beginning to get concerned she turns to walk back to the window, but the dining room is now enclosed completely with the lava rock. 

Stacia sits back down on her floor pillow and tries to find her cell phone to call Darren. Oh, but silly her, she forgot her phone on her center table when she remembered to bring her novella, she recalls. Looking about the dining room, she takes another sip of tea and wonders when the girl will return. What a warm and intimate space, she thinks. Just amazing, really. 

 

Madrid, Spain 2007 

Madrid, Spain 2007 

Madrid, Spain 2007

Madrid, Spain 2007

Madrid, Spain 2007

Madrid, Spain 2007

La Latina Neighborhood, Madrid, Spain 2007

La Latina Neighborhood, Madrid, Spain 2007

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