Tea Stains

by Katja Kramer

She gazes at his cup from across the small wooden table. You can see the liquid; the cup’s nearly as full as it was an hour ago.

“Listen, I won’t sit here all day.” Her eyes travel to the all too familiar window—it’s gotten significantly darker since she got here. “Or night.”

Her cup’s almost empty; there are a few sips left. She’s undecided whether to finish the tea or not as what’s left at the bottom of the cup tends to be quite bitter and cold.

“Please,” he whispers. “Please don’t leave.”

Shaking her head slowly, she raises the cup to her lips. “But I’m already gone.”

He opens his mouth but the words remain stuck in his throat.

“You called me,” she says, shooting a glance at his cup. “You poured that tea.” She tries to lock eyes with him but he fails to look up from his drink. “You wanted to talk.”

She takes her last sip. It’s bitter and cold.

Giving him one final, unrequited look of resignation, she sets her cup down. There’s some lipstick on the rim of it and the bottom’s stained. He stares at it, still dwelling on how he’ll ever get rid of the marks she left behind when she’s long out the door.

Author Bio: Katja Kramer is a 4th-semester student of Anglophone Studies and Kommunikationswissenschaft at the University of Duisburg-Essen. From her early childhood she’s been into all sorts of art: she has been drawing and painting ever since she could hold a pen and brush; she’s passionate about music, cinema and theater; especially in recent years, writing stories and essays has brought her incredible joy.

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