By Austin Shay

“Do you want some tea?”

i look at the steam rising,

as my body sinks into the couch.

The lies surrounded me as the aroma

entangle into my nostrils.

i felt my stomach descend like the tea bag,

its murky water engulfing me,

without meaning, without purpose,

hands trembling, fingers clumsy, as i clutch my cup

it almost slipping from my grasp.

i hope i got it wrong,

because he wouldn’t.

My body disappears,

reducing to nothing, as i slide to the floor

curling up as small as i can, making myself as small as i feel.

His voice is all i can hear,

“Austin, are you okay?”

How can he be so calm, so normal?

The tea in our cup stands still

our love so hydrophobic.

Words are all i can hear, they differ each time,

his voice trembling, as he reaches for mine

his touches accumulating,

i never added up to his aspirations.

“Austin, please say something.”

i open my eye, he is right there

crouched down, brown eyes soft and concerned,

his thumb brushed softly across my cheek,

he leans into me, pressing a kiss on my forehead.

a token, i did not want, a tea i did not choose.

My tears would not stop

As my spoon stirs the tea.

My tears trickle down my cheeks,

bright and sharp in the muffle of hurt

that clouds around me.

What’s wrong? You’re worrying me.”

no words come out, my head just shook

“Tell me”

my chest, tight with hurt

throat closes off with choked back sobs

i feel the pain bubbling up and out, in a choked howl

The Kettle, stammering my feelings in the next room

He registers my panicked whimper, as he looks toward the kitchen

as if the Kettle, could give him the indulgence into my heart,

the tea slowly evaporating, leaving residue

i taste, the moment that he realizes

blank stares, are all i receive

he is unable to stop the sobs that rises,

“it didn’t mean anything”

he is not denying it

the smell of him, comes closer

“Just look at me”

My eyes slowly meet his

its not shock marring his features;

it’s guilt

i gather my strength

pull the heartbreak inwards and hold it tight

wiping my eyes, breathing slowly

i rise as the steam from the Kettle does

allowing myself to vaporize

The Kettle calling

its company, i prefer

i need to get away

from the sight and sound, and feel of him

But my efforts, are not successful

The door slammed

i know he left

it can only be him, it should be him,

but now i am alone

The Cup, no longer offering me sympathy

i am surrounded, by echoes of fake and pretend

Cups and Kettles, have become my only friends

breathing has become less routine

forcing myself to inhale, fight and fight, until the air goes down

not easily, but my lungs fill again.

Thoughts of improvement, cross my mind

Being better, prettier, more loving,

Add in two sugars instead of one

My cup will be filled once again


Austin Shay is a freshman who is currently studying secondary education with an emphasis in English. From East Brady, PA, he is also a graduate of the Milton Hershey School. He served on the poetry, fiction, and nonfiction reading boards for the 2014-2015 issue.