Donna stood at the sink with the gentle aroma of bergamont wafting out the kitchen window. She let it steep a minute, and then a few moments too long. Her mother came into the room loudly and startled her.
"Oh! The tea it's--" She sniffed it and scrunched her nose up, "too strong, even for 'im." She lifted out the strainer and was about to pour it out, when she paused.
"Course you could always thin it out with a bit of water, but that wouldn't suit your grandfather very well." Sylvia said.
Donna placed the kettle back on the counter, and softly, "No."
Sylvia stood next to Donna, but Donna's eyes were out amongst the evening stars. Pulling down the zipper she slowly took off her jacket. "What is it, darling?"
"All these aliens 'n things at Christmas, they make me wonder what it's like. And it's like a dream, I can imagine all the fantastic places they come from. Not all horrible, not bent on earth's destruction, and maybe a market on some distant world, they make a tea that smells just like Earl Grey, but not, because why would they bother with funny Chinese tea when they have bushes that bloom on moons, but it smells only slightly off, with a touch of something different, more exotic than bergamont, with what could be cardamom if it didn't make you hear music at the same time..."
Sylvia slowly pulled herself away and scoffed at her child.
"The things you say! You sound like those dreamers who never achieve anything, they're all drifting in and out of lives and jobs, doing nothing with their lives."
"Like me then." Donna whispered, finally pouring the tea down the drain.
"Don't you say that." Sylvia pulled her daughter round, the frail old woman unable to say anything to assure her daughter, to convince her of the truth. "There isn't a finer temp in Chiswick. Dreams never hurt anyone, your grand-dad--"
"A Temp?" She stared at her mother for a moment, then turned away. "Dreaming never did him any good either."
Donna took the canister down from the shelf and spooned black tea into the pot once more, settling the kettle to boil more water, she didn't see her mother gazing at her back even as she continued to prattle.
"You always said I did too little and never achieved enough." She laughed hollow. "Here I am, dreaming away about aliens and outer-space. Like I have anything to say!" She smiled at her mum for only a split-second before the bitterness set in, "If you ever felt that I was worth anything, you always have the time to smash it to bits don't you?"
She strode out, leaving the kettle to boil and her mother to sit alone, pity swelling, misplaced.