Friday, January 14, 2011

Strange Brew


Today’s post is brought to you by a writing prompt from The Red Writing Hood! Here’s the assignment, For this week’s prompt, grab something out of your pantry and write a short piece - using all the words in the ingredients. It can be fiction or non-fiction, poetry or prose. I chose a box of Tazo Zen green tea. The ingredients are: green tea, lemon verbena, spearmint leaves, lemongrass, and natural flavors. I feel like it was a little forced. Please feel free to let me know what you think!

Strange Brew

“This is my favorite part! It may not be a real a garden, but at least I can grow some herbs. Maybe I can even add some pots of tomatoes when it gets warmer.” said Amy as she showed her mother the terra cotta pots of herbs on the terrace of her new apartment.
“It certainly is a lovely neighborhood,” said Aurora. “Are you sure you can afford it dear?” It wasn’t the first time Aurora had made a comment about finances since Amy announced her new job. She thought there might be some raised eyebrows about the company she was working for, but Amy couldn’t understand why her mother thought she wasn’t getting paid well.
“It’ll be fine Mom. Would you like a cup of green tea?” Amy asked, hoping to distract her mother from her worries.
“That would be lovely dear. Maybe later we can go to that Thai place for lunch.”
Lemongrass?”
“Yes. That’s the one,” said Aurora as she settled into a small chair on the terrace. “I loved those little spring rolls we had last time. So delicate.”
 Amy set out a tray with a small pot and two mugs. “Unfortunately, Lemongrass closed down a couple of months ago,” she said as she poured the tea.
“Oh! That’s a shame. The family that ran it seemed so nice. What happened?”
“I’m not sure,” Amy told her. She didn’t want Aurora to know about the rumors she had heard—failed health inspections, rats, and broken labor laws. “There is a Korean barbeque place there now. I haven’t tried it yet. There is also a bakery around the corner that has homemade soups and delicious crusty bread.”
            “A nice bowl of soup sounds good. It’s still a little brisk for May.”
            “That’s Boston weather for you. The wind is chilly, but it’s pretty warm when you’re in the sun.”
            “I’m not used to the cold anymore. I thought I would miss the seasons when I moved south, but I think I’ve had enough winter for a lifetime.” Aurora wrapped her hands around the mug to warm them. “This tea is good. What’s in it?”
            “I snipped a few spearmint leaves from my garden and added a slice of lemon. Are you cold Mom? We don’t have to sit on the terrace.”
            “I’m fine Amy. Well, shall we get some more unpacking done?”
            “I only have the little things left to do Mom. Besides, I invited you up to see the new place, not to put you to work.”
            “Don’t be silly, I love doing things for you kids. Just last week I watched the baby for David and Sarah. She’s getting so big!”
            “Sarah?” Amy asked.
            “The baby! Silly. The baby is getting big. I guess I should stop calling her the baby and start calling her by her name.”
            “You really don’t like it, do you Mom?”
            “I shouldn’t say anything. It’s not my place. But, Verbena? It’s a plant, not a name. I understand Sarah wanted something that would stand out, but all I can think of is lemon verbena. What will they call the next baby? Oregano? Parsley?”
            “Rosemary?” Amy offered.
            “I would be thrilled with Rosemary! At least it’s a name. Oh, listen to me! I’m starting to sound like some old bitty of a mother in law! Sarah is a wonderful mother, I’m sure the name will be fine. Maybe we could come up with a nickname.”
            “Verbie?”
            “Vera?”
            “V… what’s her middle name again?”
            “Delores,” Aurora started to laugh. “I don’t think that will work out. Oh my goodness Amy, I swear you put catnip in this tea I’m getting so silly.”
            “Your blood sugar is probably low. Let’s go get some soup.”
They walked up the brick sidewalk on Charles Street to Panificio. Amy was right. The sunshine would warm them, but then the breeze would chill them. It was a good day for soup.
            “Honey, I left my glasses at your place. Can you read the soups from here?” Aurora asked when they arrived.
“Sure Mom. Chorizo and Kale, Vegetable Barley, Greek Lemon Chicken and French Onion.”
“What’s Chorizo?”
“It’s a Portuguese sausage. It’s pretty spicy.”
“I think I’ll get the Vegetable Barley. I like simple, natural flavors,” she said. “Are you going to get the French Onion?”
“Yes,” Amy laughed. Aurora was terrible at remembering birthdays, phone numbers, and appointments. But she always remembered what people liked to eat. They approached the counter and ordered their soup. Aurora insisted on paying.
“Mom. You’re my guest. I want to pay,” said Amy.
“Don’t be silly. You’re just starting out in your career. You have a new apartment. I’m sure you’ll need things to set up your home.”
“Mom. Do you think I’m having trouble making ends meet?” Amy asked as they found a table.
“I didn’t want to say anything Honey. I know you’re excited about this new job. But you have a lot of loans from law school to pay off and I know non-profits don’t pay as well as some of the big law firms might.”
“Non-profits? Mom, I’m not working for a non-profit. The NAAP is most definitely a for-profit organization”
“I thought your company dealt with retirees from the entertainment field.”
“Mom, we represent people in the adult entertainment industry.”
“Isn’t that what I said?”
Amy started to laugh, “Mom, the National Association of Adult Performers. They’re people who perform in films for adults. You know… pornography.”
“Oh dear. I did misunderstand.”
“I’m sorry Mom. I should have realized you didn’t understand when you weren’t upset about me taking the job.”
“Upset? Honey, I’m not upset.”
            “You aren’t?”
“Of course not. You’re a lawyer—everyone needs representation. Besides, I can’t think of a more recession proof field than… what did you call it? Adult entertainment.”