Teatime in Paradise
Megan couldn’t believe how rested and refreshed she felt. That had to have been the best night’s sleep in the history of, well, ever.
She opened the sliding glass door and looked out at the landscape she’d been too preoccupied to check out when she’d first arrived. She’d never seen grass so green, skies so blue, or clouds so magnificently white. She stepped out onto the patio and inhaled deeply. She looked toward the ocean—or what she thought was the ocean. It was too brilliantly aquamarine to be a lake, yet she could see across it to the massive homes on the other side. Maybe it was just some secluded bay. She had so many questions.
Suddenly thirsty, Megan walked inside for a drink and noticed a piece of paper on the sofa. The handwritten note read, “Meet me in the garden across the bridge once you’re up and about. I’m so looking forward to your first teatime here. Love, Abby.”
Aunt Abby was already here? Megan hadn’t seen her aunt in twenty-something years and wondered what she was like now. Not wanting to waste another second, she slipped out the sliding glass door and headed across the bridge.
Again, Megan inhaled the sweet air and marveled at the fragrance. Gardenias? No. Lilies? Not exactly. What was that sweetness in the air? She would have to ask her aunt.
Near the end of the bridge, Megan looked for some sign of which way to go.
“Megan? Is that you?”
Megan looked up and saw her favorite aunt.
“Aunt Abby!” Megan ran to her, and the two embraced. Megan hoped she wouldn’t end up crying like a blubbering fool but then realized she no longer wanted to cry.
“I’m so happy you’re here,” Abby said. “Come sit down and let’s catch up.”
Megan had to laugh. There was quite a bit to catch up on! She couldn’t help gazing at the stunning table before her. She looked around to see who had set up such a gorgeous scene, but no one appeared. The table and two chairs were made of what looked like fine gold, the tabletop ringed with sparkling gemstones. Again, Megan had the sensation that things were different here.
The teacups and saucers were enchanting, made of a combination of glass and the sheerest, most pearlized porcelain she’d ever seen. Yet Megan couldn’t detect a seam. She ran her finger around the exterior of the cup, searching for the spot where the two materials were joined, but found nothing. It wasn’t possible for something to be made of both porcelain and glass, was it?
Behind one of the clear glass panels of her teacup, Megan saw a pale brown liquid. “You ordered Darjeeling for me?”
“Not exactly,” her aunt said, smiling. “We don’t call things by their old names up here. But it’s similar to the tea you once enjoyed, yes.”
“The tea in this cup is two different colors,” Megan observed. “There’s a paler brown one right here, on the other side of the teacup.”
“That's the mango tea,” Abby said. “You always said it was a shame you had to choose a single tea in your teacup, so now you don’t have that limitation anymore.” Megan looked astonished, but Abby simply grinned. It was always fun to have tea with new arrivals.
The wind whistled softly, and flying in on the breeze was an exquisite four-tiered server. Like the teacups, it was made of porcelain and glass. The sandwiches, savories, sweets, and a mysterious fourth tier of treats were absolute works of art.
The cucumber on the sandwiches—or what looked like cucumber—had been carved into a rose, complete with ruffled petals and even leaves. But cucumbers couldn’t be carved so intricately. Megan looked puzzled.
“No, it’s not a cucumber,” Abby said, amused.
“What is it?”
“Take a bite.”
Megan munched the beautiful sandwich and thought she’d died and gone to—
“Mmmm!” she said. “This is so good! It’s like a cucumber, but not. It’s …”
“It’s something you’ve never had before, but get used to it. You’ll be tasting a lot of delicious things, and you’ll run out of words to describe them. Fortunately, we have a library up here with books containing words you’ve never heard before, and you’re going to love them.”
Megan was startled by the bouncing Boston Terrier licking her ankle. “Darjie! I knew you would be here!”
“Only you would have named a dog after your favorite tea.”
Megan laughed as she hugged her beloved terrier, then she heard some voices nearby. She looked up in time to see a man and woman walking by and sharing jokes.
“Aunt Abby! That was—”
“Queen Victoria? Oh, honey, she’s just another family member here. That’s not even what we call her anymore.”
“And she was talking with—"
“Robin Williams, as you knew him? Quite the prankster, that one. If you thought he was funny before …”
Megan shook her head. She couldn't quite comprehend all the surprises of this new place.
“Close your eyes for a moment, Megan.”
She did as requested
“Now open them.”
Before her sat a beautiful pedestal cake plate bearing the most luscious chocolate dessert Megan had ever seen. “Gold leaf? Seriously?” she asked.
“Actually, we use real gold up here. And it’s all-you-can-eat, so enjoy!”
Megan laughed, her heart so full she could hardly stand it.
“When do I get to see Him again?”
“Whenever you wish, dear. Would you like to see Him now?”
“Oh yes, Aunt Abby. I’ve got to tell Him thank you. For, you know …”
Abby stood and held out her hand.
“Yes, dear. I do know, so let’s go. And by the way, your tea will still be hot when we get back!”
But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. — I Corinthians 2:9