by Sarah the Tea Mistress Melissa grabbed her bag as she ran out of her tiny loft apartment. She had to be at work in 2 hours and that only gave her a small window for a very important meeting. She ran north up the busy streets of Chicago until she hit The Art Institute of Chicago. Every Wednesday she made a stop at the museum for a very important rendezvous with a special man, the Old Blue Guitarist by Pablo Picasso. She was an aspiring musician and this work spoke to her soul and inspired her music and life. She could stare at it for hours taking in each curve of the body or slight change in blue that seemed to express to her every emotion from great sadness to melancholy. Standing in front of this painting Melissa could forget about how hard it was to make ends meet living in this big city. She could escape the boredom of waiting tables every afternoon and escape the nerves of playing music every night in an attempt to get her music career on the right track. All this just washed away as she looked lovingly at the bent up old man playing guitar. Jamal was an engineering student at Northwestern University. On Wednesdays, he met his study group at a small bakery that served the best tea in the city. They would meet to discuss theory, sip tea, and watch as the whole city walked by the quiet, tucked away storefront. Often times Jamal would stop by the art museum just before his study group to relax and gear up for hours of debate and argument. A few weeks ago he realized that the paintings on the walls were not the only beautiful things in the room with him. There was this woman he kept seeing, she was there when he arrived and there when he left, always in front of the same sad blue painting. As he stood at a distance taking her in he noticed the way she rubbed that back of her slender neck and was mesmerized at the way her hips would rise and fall as she shifted her weight from leg to leg. Observing her became his new reason for going to the museum every Wednesday morning, there was something about her he was drawn to. She was beautiful, but there was something else about her. She was mysterious the way she always looked at the same painting, and the sense of peace on her face but the intensity of her stare intrigued him. Melissa stared at the painting as she had so many times before but this particular morning she was a little annoyed. She did not have her favorite painting all to herself. There was a man standing there when she arrived and she was sure he would move on quickly as most people did. After 5 minutes she decided to approach the work, hoping that her presence would scare him away. She stood a little too close, hoping that by invading his personal space she would scare this stranger off. Jamal was taken aback by the closeness of the woman he had been observing from afar for weeks. She was so bold to come so close, what was she doing her wondered. As he had rehearsed all morning until she arrived he commented on how nice the painting was and introduced himself while holding out his hand to shake hers. Melissa could not believe that in addition to hogging her painting now she had to make small talk with some art snob poser. First she is running late and now the limited time she had was being taken up by some random tourist. She obligingly shook the offered hand and gave this man her name. She hoped that by humoring him he would go away faster. Jamal started to get nervous, he thought this would go a lot better than it had so far. He could see that she was annoyed but oddly enough that only made her better looking. Time to move on to the next phase of his plan, an engineer can plan anything, this would be the ultimate test. He reached into the gift store bag he had been nervously crumpling the handle of and brought out a postcard. He handed it to her and moved away to the bench in the middle of the gallery. Melissa was startled by this strange happening and for the first time actually looked at the man next to her. She was surprised to see piercing green eyes and unkempt hair that topped off a tall muscular frame. She looked down at the postcard of her favorite painting and smiled. The text on the other side read: Tea? Her smile grew as she looked around to find her mail carrier. He was waiting for her with a travel thermos and two mugs in his hand. As she looked at him standing there so hopeful she realized that this was the man she wanted to stare at every Wednesday morning, and all the other mornings of the week. Jamal led Melissa out to the steps of the museum and there they shared a thermos of Enchanted Forest and Melissa explained to Jamal all the things she saw in that Picasso painting that had brought them together.