The Tea Service

The eyes of Li Huā sparkled when she looked at me. She then glanced downward towards the tiny sculpted brown teapot that sat in the middle of the serving tray. Her name translated to English meant Flower, and she was a beautiful one at that.

A smile grew upon her lips. They parted slightly allowing the tip of her small delicate pink tongue to just peek out and moisten her bottom lip. I could sense a change in her emotions when she picked up the heavy black cast iron kettle. “This was my grandmother’s kettle,” she said. “My grandfather told me that she carried it all the way from DaTong, in the north of China, when the Kuomintang was retreating from Mao.  She was killed in NanJing during the Japanese invasion.”  Hua held the kettle for a few brief moments before pouring some of the hot contents into the a bowl containing small eggshell porcelain tea bowls that were decorated with small blue flowers.  The small cups were soon covered with steaming hot water.

The lid of the little brown YiXing was gently lifted off and the small pot was also filled to overflowing.

Her movement was smooth and without effort. She again glanced at me with that smile that always accelerated my heartbeat. She brushed her long black hair to one side and let her delicate fingers pick up a little ivory handled brush from the tea tray. She fondled the soft bristles with her fingers, and then gently swept the overflow liquids into the small grill at the side of the tray.

She glanced at me again; her smile full, captivating and definitely full of a child’s naughtiness. One minute her eyes were large round black saucers and then they would crinkle only to open wide again to allow the deep pools of intense affection to flow across the intimate space that separated us. I wanted to reach out and embrace this Flower.

She knew that she was in control.

She picked up the Yixing cover, raised it up and placed it on the rim of the little brown teapot and with a slow delicate movement; she rotated it in a circular movement around the opening. After a few turns the lid was re-seated in the gallery of the tiny pot. There was a definite pause as if this movement was the prelude to the rest of the evening.

Once again Flower let her head tilt to one side while reaching for a pair of small wooden tongs decorated with a carved relief of a dragon; the Chinese symbol of the power, used for hundreds of years to represent the Emperor.

She was looking at me as if to see what my reactions were. I was studied.

Flower became quiet. It was as if she wanted me to say something. I smiled at her and waited for the movements that would ensue. I wanted to tell her how young she made me feel but thought the better of it. This tea service was her gift to me and I did not wish to take away the importance of it. Flower leaned forward smiling and at  the same time she reached over and touched my hand. I closed my eyes and inhaled the sweet scent of her perfume. Memories of her garden filled with bright colors and soft petals, filled my thoughts.

“You are quiet.” She said and then asked, “Is there something wrong?”

“No.” I replied.

Although I was intrigued with what she was doing, I could only envision making love to her. Images of  her long black hair gently caressing my skin aroused my senses. The thought, of her dainty body floating above mine, caused movement in my loins. She was an angel who knew how to please men. The idea of making love with her kept my mind full of images of limbs entwined, locked in the grip of intense ecstasy. She smiled again and then gave a sideway glance. I was sure she could read my thoughts.  Please tell me what you are thinking about,” she asked.

“Flower, you are teasing me,” I said to myself. I was sure that she was able to read my body language and I was quite sure that she already knew the answer to her question. Surely she was playing with me I looked at her and grinned like a school boy, delaying my counter so that I could think up something that would bring her closer to my fantasy. I failed to do so. I replied, “I am thinking of you.”

She sat back and paused a moment. Her smile broadened only to relax. This time she parted her lips a little and allowed  her tongue to move slowly across her upper lip giving the surface inviting moist warmth. I could see that she was mulling over my answer and, I was trying to gauge her response. I did not want to give away my feelings. My heart was beating in anticipation of her next question.

“Surely you have more important things to think about,” she replied, using her serious voice to project a sincere interest in my feelings.

I took a small breath to control my answer “No, just you.” I countered.

I was doing everything in my power to manage my emotions. The last thing I wanted was to project myself as a lovesick school boy suffering from his first crush. After all I was a man of a certain age, considered too old for young activities. I really had no right to think that I could win the affection of this beautiful young woman. Nevertheless, I had decided that my age was not going to stop me from trying. I wanted her to be close to me and I was going to give my best to win the heart of this lovely creature. I knew that I was being greedy, thinking about her as my lover, but I didn’t care. I still had a life, and I wanted to live it to the maximum.

“Are they good thoughts?” She asked, looking deep into my eyes to judge the sincerity of my answer.“Yes.” I said, “They are good thoughts.” She picked up a small disk shaped round package that sat to the left of tray. It was wrapped in foil paper. The silver wheel framed a red label with black Chinese characters printed on it. Flower peeled back the metallic leaves until the dark fermented herb concealed in the wrapping came into view. With it came an aroma that opened a valley of green freshness and morning breezes. Her hands worked without effort as they broke off small buds of organic material. She was smiling again with the anticipation that only comes when one knows that they are about to bestow pleasure upon a lover. The small teapot was quickly loaded with the fermented tea, called Puer, and then filled with boiling water. The liquid again overfilled the small YiXing and my sweet hostess picked up the lid and again encircled the lip of the teapot before allowing it to find its place. She then poured that light brown liquid into the waiting porcelains, well past over flowing; until the teapot was completely empty, only to refill it again. She paused a moment and asked “Have you tasted Puer tea before? It is comes from this area and it is fermented for about twenty years. We don't drink the first steeping of the tea because we want to wash away the caffeine.” The lid was again rotated around the lip of the YiXing. She seated the it, then using the tongs, one more time, she; emptied the small bowls of their contents.

She waited a moment, allowing the new liquid and leaves to steep. “This tea is supposed to give us good health, she said. It is also touted to be a natural elixir for a good love life.” She smiled when she spoke the last words and continued, “But you surely don’t need the tea to improve your ability in that area.”

She looked at me and smiled.  Picking up the newly charged teapot, she completely emptied it into a
small glass pitcher. The liquid was a rich color of amber. Wisps of steam wafted upward filling the air with sweet bouquet of the tea. She then filled our cups from this vessel, after which she used both hands to pass one of the small bowls to me. One hand held the rim of the teacup and the other supported it.

I was about to reached for the cup when I was drawn to her fingernails. They were a bright red with small gold filigree drawing of a rose on each one. The vision of her digging these nails into my back during lovemaking filled my head with erotic images of both of us in a room filled with soft silks and lighted candles.

She broke my thoughts. “Terrance!  Are you ok? You seem so far away. Do you not feel good?” I smiled. I couldn’t believe a young lady as beautiful and gracious as she, would ever be intimate with and old guy like me.

“I am just in love.” I responded. I could no longer hide my feelings. She smiled and bowed her head to hide her blush.

Flower placed the small bowl of the hot rich red brown liquid in front of me. She waited for me to move to pick it up, and as I did, she reached for her small cup of liquid. It was as if she was an extension of my thoughts. We looked deeply into each other’s eyes as we sipped the elixir. We both caressed the rim of the small vessels with our lips. It was as if we were kissing each other. We were savoring a flavor and a freshness that had to wait  for so long before we asked it to pleasure us.

Once empty, the small bowls were placed in front of us and again filled from the small glass pitcher. The teapot sat at the side of the tray waiting for the ritual of the small lid to be rotated once again, by the delicate fingers with nails of scarlet and gold.

ABOUT Terrance

Teaching potteryTerrance is a retired Canadian Armed Forces Logistic Officer who traded his military uniform for a potter's wheel, when he retired in 1991.

Terry is presently working out of his studio, located in Longueuil, (St-Hubert,) Quebec, Canada.  You can find out more about him  here.


MY GLAZE RECIPE COLLECTION My glaze recipe collection has been collected from around the world.  I will publish a new recipe from time to time.  Some are tested and others are not.   You are invited to try the recipe and let me know if it should be continued or discarded.
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