A Cup of Tea

So in the spirit of carrying a more positive mental attitude, I’ve been walking around with a stupid grin on my face. That and humming to Katrina & The Waves’ *I’m Walking on Sunshine*. I also totally jump around like a dork a la the chica in the unfinished building in the video. Yes.

Totally ridiculous considering my life has been pretty much in the dumps lately. But also pretty wonderful that I am feeling hopeful once again. For a moment there I wasn’t so sure. Once the radiotherapy hit I was pretty much hanging in the balance. But 7 months later, the little tumours are completely gone, the horrid vertigo is gone, and my hormones are much more stable so the migraines are less debilitating. I still have to be on steroids and an inhaler for a few more months, but like I said, I am hopeful.

So, let’s be absolutely honest about why I have a stupid grin. *You wish*.

This weekend, my mum and I sat down with an old friend for a cup of tea. By old, I mean, he has been a friend of the family for so long I doubt that I can remember him ever not being a part of our lives. He spent about a dozen+ years away, but there was always phone calls and ‘SC said this or that’ every few days. And to be absolutely honest, he is not the spry athletic hunk I used to idolise when I was 16. He is old. Okay, to be honest, and fair (to the laugh lines creasing his eyes), he is only about 18 months older than my late big brother. And since they were best friends at one point, I do tend to fix him in the ‘big brother’ slot.

SC has been back home for a while but I’ve been hiding from him, or rather hiding my massive failures from last year from him. He’s been patient, showing up when I’m pinned down – bearing gifts with books (you got my heart with the books, man), flowers (what in the world am I supposed to do with flowers?), and indulgently forgiving smiles (yeah, those, infuriating!).

There, I have filled the ‘If a writer loves you they will write about you’ quota.

Anyway, SC and my mama sat down for a cup of tea this weekend. It started out as a nice enough afternoon. And then tea came out. I plead out with the ‘I am not allowed caffeine’ which saved me from looking blank when they sipped at tea and remarked at how good the leaf was. There is only one person who is allowed to put me through the hell of tasting tea, and wine and things. And he wasn’t there, so I shook my head vehemently and grabbed a milkshake. So them, tea, me, milkshake.

And then the conversation turned dark suddenly. Well, not so suddenly, I knew it was coming but I was tired of dodging it. So it happened, while they sipped at tea and I slurped at a milkshake.

“So what is your measure of failure?”

The answer wasn’t so hard. Last year, was the worst year of my life. I have screwed up royally before, but not as bad as last year. And when I figured out how bad I had screwed up I was so deep in it, and on top of it my body was running a riot, so really there was nothing to do but sit it out and hope the worst would be over soon.

I’ve been sitting there staring at my milkshake probably four – five minutes when I realise that I answered SC’s question in my mind but not out loud.

He smiles, that indulgently forgiving smile that I have no idea how I feel about.

“It’s simple, really, Julie. You don’t fail until you stop trying.”

There’s really only two people who are allowed to ever call me Julie. They are both sipping at tea.

Suddenly, I am glad I sent back the pink sapphire, and that I decided to do something a lot of people thought was infernally stupid at the time. Now, I have this stupid grin on my face.


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