Updated: Oct 30, 2021
Ms. Honey's kitchen was small, but with father John in it, it looked and felt smaller. He'd stepped into her little nook and turned it into his own space.
Sitting at her small round kitchen table, she watched father John turn off her stove before removing the tea kettle, and taking out two white mugs from the cabinet above. He ought to look silly performing the mundane task of making tea. But as Ms. Honey watched him, all she could think was how handsomely cosy he looked in her kitchen.
With his maroon sweater hanging over the rail of the only other chair in the room, father John's big arms and big biceps came to the fore in a plain, white t-shirt. She got a sudden urge to thank him for coming over. And perhaps she would. After a cup of tea soothed away her hurt.
"You really didn't have to go through the trouble of coming to see me" she said.
"I wanted to. Just to make sure you're alright", he said.
Ms. Honey was flattered, a little. "I'm fine. all things considered".
"Have you been to see your oncologist this week?" he asked.
Ms. Honey would rather not talk about the woman whose job was to inspect her fanny with him.
"Yes. Yes. I have another appointment for next week", she tried to evade. Father John wasn't moved.
"What did she say about the cancer? Is it any worse?"
How had he taken charge in Ms. Honey's own kitchen? She tried thinking of a plausible lie as he set the table, moving about with cool strides until he finally joined her.
"She ran a few tests only. Results get out next week. Thus the appointment".
For some reason, Ms. Honey's temperature was rising. Perhaps father John didn't infact turn off the stove.
"I see" he said.
"Mmmmmhhhh??" she blurted like a moron.
Over the rising steam from the kettle, father John eyed her curiously and poured water into their cups.
"I understand why you have no answers for me", he said.
Good God! Could he read her mind and knew she was lying?
"Father John I......" "John, it's John", he interrupted. Right. She'd forgotten.
"John, I'm not lying. I'm telling you the truth. I have no results from the oncologist" she insisted, a bead of sweat running down her left temple. Surely he too felt the growing heat. But as father John placed tea bags in their cups, he only looked poised and said "I believe you".
Quickly, she grabbed her tea cup, secretly thanking the heavens it's contents didn't spill over at the abrupt motion. He'd said he believed her, but with a smile in his eyes. Embarrassed, Ms. Honey turned away from his gaze, and began adding sugar to her tea, one full teaspoon after another.
At the question in his voice, Ms. Honey had to return her gaze to father John.
"You plan on smothering your tea with sugar?" he asked.
She blinked at him, "what?"
"I'm no expert. But I'm pretty sure that's too sweet to drink", he said, gesturing at her tea cup with his own.
Ms. Honey looked down to see what he meant. He was right; her tea bag was almost buried in granules, and there was little water left in her cup.
A shy smile spread across her face. So perhaps she had no tea to soothe away her hurt. But in that moment, sitting opposite father John, she forgot all about her troubles; the cancer, the pain in her body, matilda's absence, and how he'd let her suffer at it alone for an entire week.
"Thank you John", she said, "for going through the trouble of coming to see me".
Episode's podcast: https://anchor.fm/malama7/episodes/Not-so-much-her-lair-e19hk68