Read Part One Here.
July 14th, 1976 – Vietnamese Marble Mountain Black Tea
Tea with a very interesting legend. It’s said that a dragon laid an egg on Non Nuoc Beach, and after a thousand days and nights it hatched a beautiful woman. The shell, left in five pieces, became the five marble mountains.
Good for: Cases of import that are otherwise unmanageable.
WARNING: EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION WITH THIS TEA. When brewed according to proper ritual, this tea is as dangerous to the conjurer as it is to the victim. Use ONLY when ABSOLUTELY necessary!!
My mother’s leather-bound tea journal has come in handy many times over the years, for though she had taught me from a young age the proper methods of brewing tea, there was still a lot I needed to learn by the time she passed. Now that she is gone, it is immensely helpful to have a little reference book of the rarer teas of her collection.
I scanned the page several times, wincing at the giant letters. EXERCISE EXTREME CAUTION, indeed. I wondered for a moment if my mother would be disappointed that I was using her tea for this, but then again, it was an emergency. When going head-to-head with a formidable opponent, one must use only the most appropriate weapons in one’s arsenal.
And this was mine. Vietnamese Marble Mountain Black Tea.
I caressed the wooden chest that she kept it in, fingering the heavy lock as I withdrew the key from around my neck. She kept all her rare tea in that chest, and it wasn’t until she passed that I was finally given ownership of it. This was the very first time, in fact, that I would be opening it myself.
This should have been a sacred moment, really. I should have been selecting a tea to help somebody – to cure someone of chronic pain, to make them forget a lost love, or perhaps to help them remember that love even more clearly. My feelings shouldn’t be tinged with anger and hate – I shouldn’t be opening this chest out of spite.
Then again, I was doing this for a cause. In the end, I was saving myself. And sometimes, you have to help yourself before you can help anyone else.