Our cup of tea always ended too quickly, but she insisted that we share. ‘One between the two of us makes the love grow,’ she’d say. That’s how she was. Always trying to make us do cute things together, things that eclipsed the hard truth that I now know she had always known but refused to accept; I never really loved her.

In the beginning we’d had all sorts of fun. Spending our lives between the margins of urban landscapes and blue lagoons. She was an aspiring novelist, a career path she felt was synonymous to being excusably eccentric; and I, a Bangladeshi accountant whose greatest feat had been a hat-trick at a cricket tournament during my school days, felt she was a breath of fresh air. To my mother, what mattered most was that she was white. To me, she was the blinking cursor from which would spring a lifetime of adventure.

But unluckily or inevitably so, our lives unspooled.

And after what you’d call ‘the honeymoon period’, she tried to keep my attention for a while; using a cocktail of tantrums, cajolery, candles, and silk lingerie.

But soon enough she turned to the voyeuristic reading of romance novels bought from the slashed-price aisle in the back of a bookstore frequented by the kind of women who replaced their dreams and ambitions with updating phone trees and insisting there be a ‘neighborhood watch.’

Perhaps the worst part of the coupon-using-Netflix-watching-in-bed-by-ten life that I find myself living, is that it was self-made. I know that all of this was me. I know it was selfish, but I made sure that because I could not have all that I wanted to, neither could she.

She still only drinks half a cup of tea, leaving the rest on the nightstand where it collects dust until sundown.

I know that she does it for me. That a simple sip from her superstitions could be enough to make her feel redeemed. But try as I might, I can’t bring myself to do it.

Now I drink coffee: black, sugarless, and bitter; just how I like it.

-Anam Sufi

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