Four (percy)

The screeching whistle slowly grew louder and the wrought iron grill rattled under the boiling kettle. Percy stretched up from his seat at the table and lifted the kettle from the stove to the sink drainer, catching a brief glimpse of his weathered face reflected in the kitchen window before the steam clouded the glass.

Rubbing his eyes, he dropped in a half tea spoon of sugar and let the tea brew.

Wiping a view through the mist on the window he peered out into the darkness, his dark brown hands gripping the edge of the sink while his knees rested against the cupboards below. His legs ached more than usual these days; vague stabbing pains would interrupt his walks more regularly and he would need to stop for breath. He seemed to spend more time sitting around; couldn’t muster the energy to do much at all.
His eyes dropped to the cup sitting on the bench, steam twisting up and filling the window; the whites of his finger nails intensifying as he gripped the mug and shuffled back over to the table.

For some reason, Perc always grabbed the old red tin cup from the cupboard. He wasn’t sure why but he’d had it since the days on the mission with his mother. There were a few clay cups, the odd porcelain one; all tea cups he’d been given at different times. But he’d always reached for the red one with the dark blue rim; just seemed to fit his hand. He’d learnt over the years that one of the perks of being a small town priest was that you get given a lot of tea cups.

"Silly old birds," mumbled Perc with gum filled grin, lifting the cup to his lips.

His drift into nostalgia was short lived; tea splashed across the table with the tin cup dropping quickly as Perc tongued the skin behind his one remaining front tooth, stripping off a rather large layer loosened by the all but boiling water.

"Ah, ya bloody idiot! All these years and ya still can't drink a cuppa tea without burnin' y'self!"

The green and white plaid tea towel turned a mottled shade of transparent brown as it soaked up the spill and Perc slid back into his chair, his joints creaking more than the rickety old timber he was slumping into.