Love, Tea Gardens, and Converse Sneakers

Photo “Untitled” taken 2/21/10 by Paola Camargo. Made available at under an Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.


As out of place as a river bass in a teacup. That’s what I was. From my mint green nails to my blue Converse sneakers.

Yet here I was at a formal tea in a Victorian garden with my future in-laws.

I wanted nothing more than to melt into a puddle and seep down between the cracks of the Travertine tiles beneath my shoes.

Charlie came up behind me and gave me a kiss on the cheek.

“What’s wrong?”

“They hate me.”

“They don’t hate you,” he said turning me to face him. “They just have to get used to you that’s all.”

“Charlie…we were fools to think this could work. You’re family’s got money growing out of their pockets; mine hardly has enough spare change for a pack of gum. I’m a starving artist; you’re a corporate executive. I’m an American; you’re British…and, boy, is that obvious today. Just look at them; look at me. They look like they belong in the Queen’s entourage; I look like a college girl from Toledo…which I am, but at least I could’ve dressed up a bit if I knew it was going to be a formal tea. Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Because I didn’t want you to stress about it or try to be someone that you’re not,” his eyes bored into mine as he spoke. “I love you, Olivia Morton, for who you are. I love you in a frilly dress, I love you in jeans and sneakers, I even love you when you’ve got paint on your nose and your t-shirt looks like a drop cloth. I love you, all of you, because you’re wonderful, and I want my family to see that too.”

Well, what could I say to that?

I smiled despite myself. “You’re the sweetest man alive, you know that?”

He grinned. “True, but I like to hear you say it.”

I chuckled and shook my head. “Alright, come on then. We’ve got a lot of work to do.”


“Yep, we’re about to un-proper-ize your family.”

His eyebrows went up, but his laughter rang out across the garden as he followed after me.


© Whitney L. Schwartz


Written for Thursday 360

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