After a month of not drinking (or drinking very little), after a month of harsh medications and harsher thoughts, after a long day with friends, I thought about curling up with a nice glass of red, but as it turns out, I just wanted tea.
The tea that I made wasn't actually tea at all, but a blend of some spices I had bought in my travels: Turmeric and ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, nutmeg, and honey.
As I sipped, I remembered a tea plantation with basket-bearing women carrying the leaves they picked by hand, a dark, fragrant factory, and playing cards in the plantation manager's house as the rain poured outside. I remembered spice plantations in Zanzibar and Sri Lanka and spice markets in Cairo and Istanbul, and I realized that I wasn't sure how it happened. I didn't know when I grew up, but on a Saturday night, curled up under a blanket after a club visit and cupcakes, a movie, popcorn, and wine, spice seemed to represent the variety of life.
Nothing could have been sweeter.