October 23, 2008
By Sarah Creech, Herndon, VA

I can experience true fulfillment through one, single, beautifully simple act. Difficult, no, impossible to obtain in any other circumstance, I must perform the deed daily in order to feel that inordinate, exquisite pleasure that comes from being absolutely complete. The experience is transient, but the memory is timeless, and addictive.
I am speaking, of course, of ingesting a well-made cup of tea.
Allow me to explain—
The steam is seen first, before the aroma, swimming in a languid fashion around the room, invades my nasal passages and causes an uncontrollable salivation of my nether lip, of my mouth, and of my tongue.
During the brewing, my mind is held in a vice-like grip and filled with a feverish anticipation of the joys I know are mere minutes away. I can think of nothing else, because all the world’s pleasures pale in comparison to drinking such a fabulous substance.
To me, every aspect of tea-drinking is pure, unequalled delirium. In holding the cup, I am able to experience a tingling warmth that spreads from the pads of my fingers to the palms of my hands. The heady scent is heightened as the source is put within closer proximity to my nose.
However, the most sinful of all these pleasures is the first taste. Once weak with expectation, the first sip provides a miraculous strength, and an unparalleled ecstasy. The warmth is augmented and spread as smoothly and as easily as melted butter, infecting my body with an almost lazy sensation as my limbs become heavy, lethargic.
These sensations continue until the final, bitter gulp, in which I must refrain from dumping the cup back in order to experience the taste of that ultimate trickle of liquid.
Then, and only then, do I experience true fulfillment.

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