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The name is evocative. The truth disastrous. One thoughtless mouthful of lapsang souchong and my eyes poke out of my face, the rest of the room fishing for me with curious stares. I cannot swallow. They’ve brewed the tea in an old chimney pot, surely. English muscle of the lily-est type forces my gullet to open and I am left breathing earth. ‘It does smell funny,’ says Miss A. L shrugs and tosses her cup back in one. Miss A continues, ‘They waft pine-wood smoke through the leaves as they’re curing, you know.’ I wonder who’s getting cured for a moment, entangling my lashes like tiny blades of time. The leaves. The tea leaves, as they’re drying (curing), are impregnated with plumes meant for cold winter evenings, not mouths. It’s no wonder L hardly noticed, the slinking chimney; surely M, were he to drink tea, would feel the same, were he able to feel. Miss A adds three lumps, enough milk to engulf the gilded rim, and sucks on a lemon wedge between sips.
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Sophie's journal. Metamorphosing and transcribed via the æthers since 2001.
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