Years ago, I would frequent this tea shop in Littleton, Colorado. The walls were covered in hundreds of drawers, each of which housed a canister filled with a particular tea. I knew absolutely nothing about tea so I’d always ask for a recommendation.
The woman working the counter would fall into silence for a time as she scanned the closed drawers and the names that resided atop of them. Once she had come to a decision, she would climb her rolling ladder, open up the appropriate drawer, unearth the canister inside, fish out a small heap of leaves and then steep a cup of tea for me. There was something deeply meditative in watching the entire affair.
Once my tea was ready, I’d find a seat at this L-shaped bench at the front of the shop and look out the window at the people passing by. Some days the snow would fall outside and dust the streets of Littleton in a thin blanket of white and the passerby would make footprints hat would soon be covered with more white.
I remember the strange, beautiful contrast in temperature: my knuckles pressed against the ice-cold window and my palms clutching my cup of tea. I haven never gone back. Some places you refuse to return to so that they can remain forever the same in your mind, untouched. Perfect, almost.