Today was a rainy and cold one, with the thermometer reaching 15ºC (59ºF). It’s a raw cold and a shock to the system, with the first of its kind this season. But we’ll get used to it eventually, whether we want to or not. I was sipping some tea and the warm scent drifted up quickly into my nostrils. Holding the mug with the quick burn on the fingers and a slight adjustment so that my sweater sleeve grabbed the handle, my mind went elsewhere.
How many years ago was it now? Three or four? The year was…2007. We were in Dublin and had stopped into a café with the promise of getting out of the cold February rain. Who the hell goes to Dublin in February anyway? But we had a few extra days off from classes in Spain and took the advantage to visit another country. Back when doing that sort of thing was so easy to do and the cost of a flight for €20 looked like a bargain.
I guess it was towards the end of our stay there and we had seen most of the things we wanted to, so we were just walking around and killing time when Dorothy saw this cozy little hole with muffins in the window, comfortable-looking chairs and bright lights—a complete contrast to the gray and drab of an Irish February day. We ordered our teas and muffins and sat down. I don’t remember exactly what we talked about, though it was a slow paced and say-something-when-you-want-to kind of conversation.
Dorothy grabbed her mug by both hands and held it tightly, saying she loved to have a tea or coffee on cold days and just grab the mug. The heat from the drink instantly went into her hands and through her body, warming her up. I tried but quickly stopped as the convection hurt me too much. This method wasn’t for me, and I’d just as soon stick to warmer clothing and heating, I thought.
We sat in the café for maybe an hour and then went back out into the cold and rain to finish off our trip. I don’t know how many times, or if I’ve ever though about that moment since it happened, but today it came back to me with the whiff of camomile tea. Three years and I still can’t hold the mug tight. But for a couple of minutes I had a firm grasp on that vivid memory until like the heat from a porcelain mug, it slowly faded away.