“Twelve dollars?!” She scoffed, “Looks like a bag of grass clippings!” She tossed the organic lemongrass tea back on the discount shelf, adjusted her Bluetooth and made a beeline for the designer handbags across the aisle.
Grass clippings? He looked up from the dress shirt he’d been contemplating. Turning the bag over, he read the back: Lemongrass has been traditionally used in Ayurvedic medicine to relieve pain and reduce fever. He remembered his foster mother adding it directly to a pot of boiling water and letting it simmer. “Better than a teapot,” she would say. The fragrance filled the kitchen as he dropped his books on the counter. “You’re staying home today,” she cut him off as he protested. “You need to take care of yourself first. Get better faster and go back to school stronger than ever.” She poured the steaming amber liquid into his Superman mug. He looked at the floor and couldn’t think of anything to say; he wasn’t used to being cared for like this.
“‘Scuse me.” He blinked and looked up as someone shoved past him with a shopping cart overflowing with crap. The things people buy. It still amazed him. He looked at the dress shirt again. The blue was the same shade worn by a lot of guys at the office. Layoffs were looming and he’d need the money for other things if he got fired. Last in, first out, you know. Still, he needed proper office clothes. “If I get fired this will be a good interview shirt,” he decided. An investment in his future either way. He looked back at the lemongrass tea. He hadn’t budgeted for it. Twelve dollars…what could he do without this week? Certified organic, sustainably grown and harvested. He inhaled and he was back in her kitchen. He put the tea on top of the shirt and made his way to the long checkout line. He’d figure it out.