45: Over a Cup of Tea

45: Over a Cup of Tea

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

Over a Cup of Tea

The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.

~Elisabeth Foley

When my girlfriend moved with her family to a sprawling acreage outside the big city of Calgary, Alberta, I thought things might change between us. She had her dream house, a large family, and a thriving home-based business. To me her life seemed picture perfect.

One day I went to visit and took the tour. I admired the layout, fine furniture, and original art on the walls. Her kitchen window overlooked hills newly planted with fir trees, a children’s swing set, and a nearby bright red barn. Then I noticed a broken teacup on the sill. It seemed out of place.

I asked her why she kept the cup, which couldn’t hold tea if it tried.

“Because you gave it to me,” she said with her trademark smile.

I took a closer look at the cup, and the memory of it came flooding back. It was off-white fine china with a pastel floral design. Along the rim ran the words, “You’ll always be my friend. You know too much.” I laughed and put down the cup. I gave her a big hug, while her four girls and one boy watched quietly.

I’d given her the cup back in the day when we were roommates sharing a large duplex with four other single women. The house was always full of people and the ongoing dramas of young people looking for love. My girlfriend and I sat up plenty of nights drinking tea and divulging secrets. She was detailed and disciplined — she worked in a bank and had been engaged forever. I was a struggling student attending journalism school and not quite sure which end was up when it came to love and marriage. She got her facts straight and made plans. I pondered possibilities and made it up as I went along. Despite our differences, we needed and appreciated each other.

Plus, after two and a half years as tell-all roommates, we knew too much to not be friends for life!

At her fairytale wedding, I was her bridesmaid in spiffy downtown Calgary. Six years and as many moves later, her daughter was my flower girl in small-town Banff. We stayed in touch, called often and never forgot a birthday or anniversary.

At first, I thought the new house and hard-earned success might change things between us. But her loyalty ran deep. I knew my secrets were super-safe with her. And the details! She never forgot a detail. For her, my stories were never long enough. She wanted to know everything. She always remembered to pray for me and send an annual invite to a marriage retreat she and her hubby were attending. I always declined, preferring to work things out on my own. She kept inviting… but I knew she was a champion of my happiness. Despite the cracks, she saw the beauty of my life.

So, when I saw the cracked cup on her otherwise perfect sill, I paused.

The teacup symbolized our friendship. And there it was — in the open, where everyone could see. My friend made no effort to put it in a private corner, or on a shelf away from curious eyes. Anyone who asked about it, she would tell. My very loyal friend, who usually held her secrets close to her heart, was proud of what we meant to each other.

She’d put it in a place of honor, as a reminder of our friendship. As she did the dishes and watched her children play, she remembered me. As she talked over future plans with her husband, she remembered me. No matter what, I realized I’d always be an important part of her life. She loved me. Forever.

Houses come and go. One day the cup may go too. But our friendship is one of life’s treasures I plan to take all the way to heaven, where all the cracks will be mended, all the tears we’ve shed together dried up, and all the secrets something to laugh about together — over a cup of tea.

~Dayna E. Mazzuca

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