A Secret behind a Cup of Tea

Photo of mine two years ago

Some things started with us or grew up in our childhood, which we could not erase from our memory. Not only these, but some also affected us until we became used to them as we grew up. There are a lot of things that concerned me since my childhood. One of these things is drinking tea at the cafes on sidewalks and streets, which I used to do with my father in my childhood; we often went together to drink a cup of tea and watch traffic and what people were doing. It was my best moment, especially in the air between the traffic and my father. Sometimes, I leave my cup of tea cold, not hot, and go around the markets. I felt like I was discovering the world while my father was waiting for me till I came back to drink my tea slowly, enjoying it. Finally, we went home. We repeated this many times at the cafe a few steps away from our old house.

The years passed, and everything changed. The situation is no longer like it was in the past. I grew up and became a woman, and I no longer go to cafes with my father that easily, and that cafe no longer exists a few steps away from our old house. The Yemeni society needs to get used to women sitting in open cafes in the streets, eating or drinking in front of people. In general, for them, this is rude and shameful. In Yemen, it is rare to see women in open cafes on the streets and sidewalks; those places are only full of men. Therefore, it has become rare for my father and me to drink together in cafes, but my father used to buy me a cup of tea to take with me on the bus when I went to the university. However, there is still the problem of the community's views filled with shame that does not change; although I do not stay inside the café with my father, I stay outside near the place, waiting for my father to hand me my cup of tea to take it with me.

Nevertheless, the people's looks are filled with exclamation and do not stop; how can an adult girl stand waiting near a café full of men? Ultimately, my father handed me my cup of tea and a piece of bread to eat while going to university. Then I go to the bus and keep drinking the tea with that piece of bread until the end of my commute.

Photo of mine in a café on the street a year ago.

I kept overthinking why I could not stay with my father to eat that piece of bread and drink the tea like a child, but the community and its diseased looks stayed a barrier in front of me and imposed itself on our lives. We ended up practicing things we did not want to, which made us fake people, not our authentic selves. But my life as it was in childhood is still a vivid memory in my mind and my soul. Therefore, I could not change. I kept practicing many things despite many people in my community viewing them as childish, or I had not to keep doing them after I grew up and became an adult. Still, I see them as a part of my natural life and personality.

So, I continued going to open cafes on the streets. Indeed, I was not with my father as a child, but I got used to going alone and chose some places that have always become my favorites. In some of these places, the servants were surprised by my sitting down at the table, but the servers were doing the service, and in the end, they got used to my presence mostly as well, as it became a regular matte for them as it was normal for me since the beginning. I have spent my moments happily outdoors with a cup of tea, watching people and traffic like a child while people mistreat me and whisper to each other: “Look at that girl! She is impolite or indecent!”. At the same time, I am living moments of happiness and childhood with each sip of a hot cup of tea between the crowds.


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