|© john shepherd|
She looked in the peak of health, yet inside she was dying; her heart crumbling slowly, piece by piece.
That was the day the tea shop opened in the small coastal town. She gave it two weeks before she went to see what all the fuss was about.
The door rattled, announcing her entrance to the shop. "A big mug of tea please," she said, and to her astonishment the elderly lady behind the counter winked at her.
"I was wondering how long it would take you to visit," she began. "I've seen you passing my door several times, with not so much as a glance. Take a seat, my lovely, and I'll bring it over."
And so she sat. Taking a photo from her wallet, she lost herself in memories. She tucked the image away as she heard the footsteps approach.
"Don't worry, my child, she will return," the old lady said as she placed the mug in front of her. "This is on me," she added, as she put a plate of shortbread on the table.
"How do you know she'll be back?" the younger woman asked.
"Your daughter is searching for something, but once she finds it, she will return."
As the older woman walked slowly back to the counter, she bit into the shortbread. It crumbled and dissolved on her tongue. Inside, her heart began to heal.
She sipped her tea and tasted hope.