Tea with the ladies

1. Rosie’s Chronicles/Introductions

It was breaking news. Their Ardmore tea cups tinkled as their excitement mounted and they all nodded in agreement when Nora said in her most authoritative voice, “Ladies, I believe she has gone mad.”

There was a brief silence as the news sunk in, then more nodding. Rosie had seemingly just upped and left a perfectly good life.

While no-one was looking, Nora dropped a second sugar cube into her tea cup. With the execution of a queen, she stirred the hot tea with swift and precise movements and with the perfect amount of swirl. Nora leaned back into the soft sofa, sipping her sugary hot tea with the greatest of pleasure and added, “She put on a lot of weight you know. It’s a tell-tale sign that something is very wrong.” More nodding and Rachel’s famous gluten-free jam scones were passed around for the second time. Nora declined, drinking her tea instead.

Rachel went red in the face, smiling her sweetest possible smile despite the rage that simmered within. Nora always did this – declined her scones, her cake, her salmon sandwiches, absolutely bloody everything. Ever since she ‘took the gold’ for the annual school bake off fundraiser, knocking that woman right off the ‘Queen of the Cakes’ pedestal, it seemed as though Nora had literally declined her altogether, gluten-free scones and all. She really couldn’t give a shit about Rosie right now. For Rachel, this was war.  She looked Nora in the eye, then at the cup, then in the eye again and nodded slowly in acknowledgment while saying with a deliberate element of forlorn, “Yes, poor Rosie. It’s such a shame.”

Alice kept quiet. Secretly she wished she could do what Rosie had just done – change her life. She wished she could leave. Who knew what Rosie’s reasons were; it didn’t really matter to be honest. What mattered to Alice was that Rosie had ‘left’ and with leaving, had also left all financial security, her reputation and the comfort of knowing what tomorrow would look like, even if tomorrow was not so good.  Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t, Alice thought. She looked at the women and envied their seemingly simple and easy life with their marvellous husbands. They really had no idea – that every time she’d joined them for tea, she’d lied.


Rosie walked. She’d declined tea with the ladies, preferring her own company right now and the comfort of solitude that comes with walking alone. She’d walked the same route on the farm every day since the start of Lock down. It had become somewhat of a ritual; with every landmark she passed, taking her deeper into her thoughts and intentionally moving into territories she had never thought to go but needed to.

She knew she’d be judged. She knew her name would be burning on everyone’s lips with every new pot of tea poured. She knew that many would not understand or agree and some would worry. She knew that this news would irk (or motivate) many people, and in ways that apply to their own life; their own fears, their own relationships, their own experiences and their own beliefs. She knew that if she went to tea, she’d be answering questions that would be to satisfy their burning curiosity, or confirm what they thought they knew when what she really needed was to be alone up on the hill, walking her own path.

Rosie knew alright, that this was the end and also the beginning.

But above all, she knew that to begin, she must first know where she is at.

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.”Tony Schwartz

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