For People Who Know Their Tea
by Kelly Moul

Life is impossible and so what? It is in its very impossibility that we find our joy.

Wesley knows tea. Tea and books, books and tea.

Lifetimes before a blonde waif of a girl sealed his fate with the words, "my lover is dying," before black eyes in the boy's lavatory, before waking at some god-forsaken hour in the Academy library, his cheek feverish against the cold, impartial breath of some ancient text, before the stupefying torture of the Council hearings, the harsh, bright tones of his father's disgust.

Somewhere before all that, there was tea and scones and strawberry jam. Fine-quality, brown-black British Breakfast tea, and hot, plump scones lying in wait for knife-heaps of fresh creamed butter and strawberry jam that smacked with a homemade tang.

Wesley never did manage to recreate that British bounty in America. He was taught to brew tea in an English manor, a newly minted four year-old hiding from his father and his unmemorized Latin elegies. The dark licorice and ginger odor of the chopped leaves, his mother's ancient teapot with faded crest, lions and white ghosts of roses, the amber liquid shooting from the stem, caressing each cup...such rich sensory memories were not transferrable to the gritty, sandy clime of Los Angeles. His attempts at a regular tea hour suffered under the strain of ever-more-urgent research and the nearly constant flux of his offices and residences over the past three years.

But this morning, head aching from Stoli and redeyes, burdened with fruitless, frantic research and the nightmare of a free Angelus, a real British breakfast is in order.


Sip by sip rather than gulp by gulp.

Wesley has not drunk tea in ages. After the hospital, he fell into the habit of purchasing coffee instead -- usually from 7 Eleven -- the most dreadful coffee available, downing it in supersize chugs.

He just keeps hearing it over and over again nowadays. "My lover is dying."

Oddly enough, it's not the part of her soliloquy where she quit or "graduated" or whatever the hell she had termed it. All he can see now is her somber, sallow face, sooty makeup framing her marbled eyes. "My LOVER is dying. My lover is DYING. MY lover is dying!"

Wesley's lover is dead. And he can't help thinking, while staring at the foamy dregs of his British Breakfast tea, that her lover -- "say it Wesley!" -- that Angel should be dead as well. Dead, dead -- dead a million times dead. Not Lilah, with her vain, capitalist brand of evil. Lilah with her smart Borrachi pumps and her thirty year-old scotch -- "two ice cubes, please." Lilah, who Angel had never even thought to save.


Our British Breakfast is a robust blend of quality black teas; hearty enough to make any Brit smile in the morning. This is no mass-market blend, but a savory mixture of select China, India, Ceylon and Kenya leaves that sets a new taste standard for this classic beverage. Great with a splash of milk (in first).

She had bought it for him of course. The canister of tea had been part of one of the many bribery baskets, brimming with lavish trinkets she may or may not have imagined he'd use: expensive shaving kits with their precise, silver razors, sterling writing pens spitting out supple black ink, a basket full of ridiculously priced gourmet treasures.

There are no scones, but a package of dry, buttery biscuits and a jar of apricot jam serve as a mean substitute. "An impoverished Brit's attempt at comfort food? Breakfast of champions?" Wes' lips curl wryly.


Tea mind allows life to live us. It frees us from the hubris of trying to control what cannot be controlled. The life of tea is the life of the moment. We have only Now, and we each sip it in our own cups.

Somewhat satisifed, and with a faint trickle of optimism, Wesley shakes off an urge to dwell on Angel and Buffy's blind and infuriating policy of selective mercy. Faith, Darla, Kate--but never Lindsey and especially not Lilah.

"Because of you, Angel will live to play God another day." Silently, Wesley returns to his books.


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