This story is part of Fiction Month 2020. Click here to view the stories featured this Fiction Month, as well as past fiction pieces.
It started off as an ordinary day. Chris gently awoke Pat by whispering the date: “November the fifth, baby, good morning.”
Pat rolled over and groaned. “Is it Monday?”
Chris responded gently, “Not yet sugar, it is Sunday. 11am, rest a little longer. I will put the kettle on.”
The rain was pattering the roof, like a giant octopus was doing a dance above their heads. Chris moved their hips to the rhythm of the sky, and hummed a little tune. Pat heard the sweetness of their lover’s voice and blindly patted down the stairs, careful not to be too loud. As Pat approached Chris, they put their hands over their eyes and whispered:
“Hi sweetness. The sun is too bright right now, but I know your eyes are brighter.”
Chris swiveled around, astonished, and bowed.
“May I have this dance, dear Pat?” Chris asked.
Pat blushed and curtsied. They took their right hand and placed it upon the small of Chris’s back. Pat led. Pat knew the steps, and also knew that the steps didn’t even matter.
With a twirl of Chris’s suple figure Pat said:
“Gonna brush my teeth, be right back.”
Pat shouted after they gently set Chris down on the couch. It took Chris a few minutes to collect their breath. Despite waking up together for what seemed like an eternity, Pat still knew how to sweep Chris off their feet. With a deep breath and a shiver, Chris got up to finish making their morning tea. Peppermint for the rainy morning. Four spoons of sugar for themself, and none for Pat. Chris set the two mugs on the coffee table and flicked on NPR. Terry Gross’s sweet voice drifted into the room with flair and soothing tones. Her voice courted the steam from the peppermint tea, and danced round until Pat entered the room and plopped next to Chris.
“Hey babe,” Pat said. “All minty and clean. “
“Well, perfect, I made us peppermint tea.”
Pat signed and leaned further into the couch. They pulled an extra fuzzy blanket up to their face to hide the redness of their cheeks. Chris, being curious, scooched over and lifted the veil.
“What is wrong, Pat? Was it the tea? Or just you being silly?” Chris asked. Pat responded with a yawn like vocalization:
“Youuuuuuuuu,” and fell into Chris’s arms.
Pat wondered how incredibly sweet Chris could be. They were always there, planning surprises, writing them poetry, making them tea, their favorite flavor, and no sugar too!! Pat wanted to express that to Chris, sing to Chris’s eyes how beautiful they were.
“Hun, what is it?” Chris asked.
“You are perfect, you are the most beautiful.”
Chris blushed, but their heart pounded with confusion.
“Pat, I think you know that is you. You are the best in so many ways. You give me surprise hugs and always look out for me.”
Pat shook their head in disagreement.
“Cherry blossom, you are the most beautiful, the most perfect, no one can ever transcend or be anywhere near your level of creativity, godlike qualities.”
Pat was determined to let Chris know that they were, the fairest of them all. But Chris scrunched their eyebrows. And pouted. How could Pat not truly know that they were the most perfect, and Chris couldn’t even hold a candle to the kindness that Pat possessed?
“You can’t be serious Pat, stop kidding yourself, you are the definition of perfect.”
“No, you are Chris, and you know it too. Stop arguing with me!”
“You are, no one can compare to how great you are!”
“Shut up, that is you!!!!”
This shouting match continued until Terry Gross had finished her interview, and their tea had gone cold. With sore voices the cold tea could not soothe as well as hot tea could. Red faced and upset, Chris and Pat retreated to their separate corners once they separately realized the other could never understand their perspective.
It was afternoon now, no food was in their stomachs, only the fire of unjustified fury. There was so much hatred in the current day, and Chris and Pat slowly understood that it had manifested towards their love. How could they have done that to each other? The one they had shared so much of their life and time with? Hurt by complements. Arguing over beauty, putting themselves down in the process. Creating schisms in a foundation that they had built for what seemed like forever.
Chris and Pat met in the living room. Sat on the couch, and were quiet. Within the silence they heard the rain.
“We are so small.” Pat said softly.
“Two people only trying to hold onto something that will inevitably never be the same,” Chris responded.
Pat nodded in agreement, and reached for Chris’s hand.
“I am sorry,” they said in synchrony.
As they felt the ridges of each other’s fingers they realized the silliness of their fight. They had argued over something so kind, it had destroyed their moment.
“Can we start over?” Chris asked.
“Of course!” Pat said. “I will make tea this time. You, my love, sit tight.”
They heated more water, and composted the old tea bags. Four spoonfuls for Chris, none for them. As they brought the tea over, Chris started to speak with their gorgeous voice.
“We are both so beautiful, ya know. It isn’t a competition. We shouldn’t have made it one.”
Pat nodded. And handed Chris’s mug to them. Pat echoed their sentiment.
“You are so right.”
They held each other tightly, gently. They knew their worth. And through the support of each other, they could learn to grow into kind, caring, loving people. And weren’t they lucky to know it wasn’t a competition? They were so grateful. And had no need to prove it. They knew. As they sipped the tea they decided to trust their guts, and let each other know when they were not comfortable. The liquid poured into their stomachs, sedating the unnecessary anger, and relieving a bit of the weight off the world. Maybe that would help. If only a little. Until then, together they would live, create, twirl, and scream. And realize that the world is finite, and tea gets cold. So it is better to sip slowly and gently. They turned to each other, flecks of light in each other’s eyes, and smiled.
Hani Potner is a student at BCB who enjoys creating art in various forms. Usually you can find them on the stage at the Tispy Bear Bar as their drag persona, Zoloft Kale. They are a HAST student working and learning to improve the world for marginalized populations.