A cup of water at a rolling boil, a teaspoon of Assam tea leaves, lower the heat, add some milk to temper the theine. No instants for me. Not for chai, not for relationships. The first sip awakens, the second enlivens, the others taste insipid, tepid. Too prosaic, too soon: chai and relationships. I add spices, cinnamon or cardamom, to the chai. It works. For the other thing, I straighten or curl my hair, apply mulberry or cerise lipstick. But he’s set in his manner and in his beverage—coffee, instant. Always black. Always bitter.
Sara Siddiqui Chansarkar is an Indian American writer. She was born to a middle-class family in India. Her work has appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, Reflex Press, Flash Fiction Online, and elsewhere. She has been highly commended in National Flash Microfiction Competition, shortlisted in SmokeLong Quarterly Micro Contest, shortlisted in Bath Flash Fiction Festival. She is currently an editor at Janus Literary and a Submissions Editor at SmokeLong Quarterly. Her debut flash fiction collection was published in October 2021. More at saraspunyfingers.com. Reach her @PunyFingers.