Tea Leaves and Green Jade


Match Fifteen: Gingko:

Alfred lay back on the carpet. "What do you want to hear today?"

Florence lifted her head up from her pillows. "The 60's." Her friend made an odd face.

"Are you serious?" he asked.

"Yes," she replied. Alfred put his hand to his forehead, shaking his head.

"Oh god," he said. "That time, huh?"

"Yes," she repeated. Alfred put on a brave face.

"Okay," he said. "Where do I begin?" He shook his head to himself. "That was a crazy time!"

"What was it like?" Florence asked. He puffed up his cheeks.

"So embarrassing," the American man said. "Those clothes were ugly. I still shudder when I see tye-dye." Florence gave him a tiny chuckle.

"Oh come on," he complained. "It's not that funny, dude."

"It wouldn't be that bad," she told him. He gave her a strange face.

"You're joking, right?" he asked. Florence shook her head.

"I mean that," she said in a whisper. As Alfred struggled to think of something to say, a question came into his head.

"What about you?" he asked. Florence gave him a confused look.

"Hm?" she asked.

"Do you have any stories about yourself?" he asked. "Where were you born?"

"I remember that I came from the countryside of Louisiana," Florence answered. "I don't recall any more details from there. My parents were nice people. Mother wrote poetry and Father loved nature."

"Poetry?" Alfred asked.

"Yes," she replied.

"Do you remember what she wrote?" he asked.

"I might," his friend answered. She broke down into couching. Her attempts to talk didn't help either.

"Whoa!" Alfred said, rushing to her side. "Take it easy there!" The tree spirit still tried to talk with her coughing. He handed her a glass of walk.

"Here, drink this," the American man whispered. He helped her take a drink. Florence swallowed little sips before she could stop. She took in slower breaths. Alfred drew back the empty glass.

"Better?" he asked. Florence nodded her head.

"Much better," she replied. "Thank you." A knock came on the bedroom door. The pair looked up to see Lydia standing in the doorway with a tray in her hands.

"It's time for her medicine," she said.

"Oh," Alfred said. "I'll get out of your way." He stepped away from the bed and let the younger sister walk into the room. He resisted how long Florence would be like this. The American man asked that before and Lydia gave him the evil eye, telling him that he crossed a line. Alfred never asked that question again since. Still, it wasn't as bad as it was going to get at Ju's place.

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