I drink hot tea every morning with breakfast. Even though it’s 80 degrees plus with a heavy humidity outside. Even though what I would really like is a tall glass of milk. Or ice water. Even though some days I want coffee instead. Or nothing at all. Regardless, I have a cup of hot tea every morning. I heard that drinking hot beverages after meals aids in digestion. I don’t do it for my health. It seems once a pattern of life has been established here, it’s difficult to break it without breaking face in the process. It may seem like a small, insignificant gesture of habit, but even that has its implications. That’s okay. I like tea. It envelops me like a hug, warms my insides, and brings me back to places I’d thought I’d forgotten. So many secrets are divulged over tea, so many dialogues had. The leaves tell stories of a past time, stirring up old laughs and long nights. They tell the stories that have not yet been written, too. Of the future just beyond the horizon. Sometimes when I feel like I’m losing my grip on this reality; when there’s no one to hold onto or to hold me, a cup of tea gives me a moment to latch onto. One sip and suddenly I’m tethered. It comes from the earth, and so I, too, am bound to it.