Make tea

Weald and Downland Living Museum, UK 2014

Weald and Downland Living Museum, UK 2014


The rain drove down on the small building rattling against the windows, thrumming on the metal roof.

Nothing absorbed the sound which echoed around the empty room. The old man rubbed his gloved hands together and shuffled over to the stove. There was some gas left. He’d checked yesterday, lifting the canister up as best he could and listening for the liquid to slosh about inside. Enough for a few more days. Enough for a cup of tea. Trooper, his cat, jumped up on the side, arched his back and began purring looking for love and attention. The old man rubbed the back of her ears with his knuckles. Trooper slow-closed her eyes, her body rumbling with her soft purr.

He lit a burner and placed a kettle of water down on the hob. The blue flame spread out from underneath the base, licking and spitting. The old man held his hands out near the heat. Trooper jumped down and began to curl around his legs pushing her head up and down the long bone of his shin.

“Okay, okay. Food. I’ll get you some breakfast.”

He opened a cupboard and reached for a small tin of cat food. His nail picked at the ring until he could pull it up with his finger and open the can. A waft of tuna fish hit his nose. He picked out the flaky chunks into a bowl using a fork he’d used the night before. Trooper pushed his hand out of the way and still purring began to eat. A gentle whistle emanated from the kettle getting louder as the water boiled harder. The rain was subsiding now to a grey drizzle. The old man dropped two tea-bags into a mug before pouring boiling water over them. He sniffed the carton of milk. Still fresh. He poured a little into the mug watching it swirl and sink into the brown water.

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