Jorge Suarez

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A Vanilla Rooibos Tea

I’ve been sick with a cold for the past couple days and it’s also been extremely cold here in the DC area. This called for a trip to Starbucks today for some hot tea.

The vanilla rooibos tea was one that I acquired a taste for and grew to love over time. Edgar introduced it to me last year and at first it was just distasteful to be completely honest. After drinking it a couple more times with some added honey, I began to like the flavor and before I knew it, it was the only drink I was ordering at Starbucks.

Last year during the winter months this was my go to drink. I would order a grande because a tall was too small and a venti too expensive, considering my gold card would get me free re-fills. Edgar and Julian, being bigger coffee drinkers than me, would order coffee instead. Starbucks served as a wind down spot for us after long days of editing, a place to relax, talk and be on our phones. Being on my phone was what I did most of the time there since I had made a best friend, a virtual one, that I talked to every single day through iMessage. Over those months of continually going to Starbucks we also got to develop personal relationships with some of the employees as a result of being there every day without fail. 

Now, today we made our way to the same Starbucks location as last year and upon entering I ordered the vanilla rooibos tea. I hadn’t had this tea in almost a year so this time I went for the venti. I received my cup and walked over to the self-serve counter to get the usual honey packets, napkins and wood stirrers. As I set the tea cup down with the lid off I began to smell the aroma of the tea leaves I so loved. I could see the steam rise from the top of the hot cup and flow straight into my nostrils causing immediate floods of memories to rush through my brain. It all felt so familiar, as if I was back in 2013 preparing my tea just how I like it. As if the guys were waiting for me to join them in conversation about editing wedding videos. As if the person I messaged every day was still just a friend. As if today, right now, was another moment in the past. I grabbed my honey sweetened tea along with my napkins and stirrers and sat down with the guys. I snapped a picture of what I had set on the table because today felt different, the good type of different that makes you realize how things have changed for the better. Our conversation today was no longer about weddings, but about new and better projects that we’re working on. Corinth, the girl I constantly messaged last year, is no longer a virtual friend but instead my girlfriend, the love of my life and I am the happiest I’ve ever been. Today, through just a simple smell, I was shown how life evolves, relationships grow and some memories never fade.