I am in my shiny, bright kitchen and the water is boiling on the stove. It was a stressful day and a cup of black tea is all that I want right now. I close my eyes and from the dark surroundings a forgotten memory is coming...
It is morning and I lift the warm blanket just a bit, to take a glimpse. The milky dawn is coming and now I can clearly see my grandmother's kitchen. I am just a little girl and my bed is in the corner of the kitchen, a big and hard bed with a mattress stuffed with straw and covered with a rough blanket which is scratching my face. The kitchen was built by my grandparents with bricks made of manure and clay mixed with straw and dried under the sun. Nicely painted with white slaked lime and covered with tin, the kitchen is narrow, tight and very long with tiny gloomy windows and the floor made by trodden soil - the image of the simplicity of my peasant roots.
I can hear the fire sizzling in the old stone oven, in fact a kitchen range, and the smell of fresh black bread caressed by my grandma's huge hands is tickling my nostrils. She is outside in the yard; I can hear the sound of the fountain pulley when she is lifting the bucket with fresh water "Creak! Crack!" hurting my ears, and I know that it is time to wake up and wash my hands and face.
The back of the kitchen is darker because there are no windows , just a big mysterious tallboy, the bench for the bucket of water and the basin. I am afraid to go there alone or to watch the tallboy because I know, I can feel, there is a monster spelled by an evil witch, who is willing to grab me and eat me!
The grandma enters and through the open door I see the cherry trees with mellow cherries, bringing inside the scent of the later spring and I jump in my bed with joy and eagerness. She is hugging me and a big smile is hanging on her fleshy lips; everything is big, her breasts, her hips, her nose and especially her hands, hands like shovels with thick rough skin, chapped by hard work and aging. I kiss her hand and I cannot feel the roughness of the skin or the smell of homemade soap - just her big heart beating ..
"Do you want tea or milk?" Yes, I love black tea, hot and tasty with a slice of black bread and honey. The jar of honey is on the table and I close one eye looking with the other one through the golden thick liquid. Like magic, the kitchen is now a golden palace with golden floor and my golden grandma is laughing with her golden big teeth! " After you eat you can go outside and play! And don't eat cherries yet! You don't want an upset stomach!"
I am leaping with my bare feet on the earthy floor. The ground is warm and soft, and I still feel a brackish taste on my tongue because the precious leaves of tea were boiled so many times, the taste of poverty and love, the taste of my childhood.
When I open my eyes the aseptic and civilized kitchen is too bright and the light is almost hurting me. I take a sip from my black tea, made with filtered water and the old taste of my grandma's tea is not coming back! Just the salty taste of my tears mixed with the black tea flavour and the strong feeling that I lost my bitter innocence forever...
Angela Daniela ŢAPU