Sunflowers and Tea
Part I "Sunflowers ..."
Author's note: : I proudly present my story (again), but now corrected by my wonderful beta reader allbluewitness.
But nevertheless: If you are able to understand German, please read the original. :3
"The usual, Mr. Kirkland?" the young waitress asked kindly.
Arthur nodded and replied with a smile, "The usual."
Yes, every time a conference was held in Moscow, the heart of Russia, he found himself in this cafe in the afternoons: the only one outside the United Kingdom which served a similar tea to his own. He had actually discovered it only by coincidence, when he boredly walked through the streets one afternoon. It was in the suburb of the city and allowed you a wonderful view of the landscape.
He looked thoughtfully at the sunflowers, which were in full bloom, as he waited for his tea. The last time and last few years during which he had been sitting here, there had never blossomed sunflowers before. Never. Mostly it had been just the green of grasses and herbs and trees here and there. But when the sun shone on the barren landscape, it had a stunning effect, in his opinion.
But that was quite different with the sunflowers. Russia was known for cold, snow and winter. But sunflowers stand for heat, sun and summer. A contradiction, a paradox.
But if he thought back to today's meeting, quite understandable.
The topic of the meeting had been sustainability and renewable energy.
They had searched for plants that would grow well all over the world and had a possible high energy level. America had spoken non-stop of maize, and then China had rather casually mentioned the sunflowers.
That had been the beginning of the evil and the reason for the early closure of the meeting.
"Why sunflowers?" Russia had asked.
"Because they-" but China had no chance for explanations.
"And if they"-
"I said never and I will never allow such a proposal to be put into action!"
After that, a tense silence had been in the air. Russia had not raised his voice, it had only contained a degree of sharpness that would have tolerated no protest. Arthur, who had already woken up with a headache that morning in a Moscow hotel, needed only to consider how likely it was that Russia would start a war because of sunflowers before coming to the conclusion that he should keep quiet. Even America had caught that.
Arthur had taken a sip of his tea and arisen from his seat.
"I think we should leave it like that for today," he had said while massaging his temples. He had desperately needed a good tea, and not one of those bog-standard mixtures from the house of Russia. Germany and France (just because of necessity) had agreed with him after all and with that the meeting had been coldly adjourned for the day.
While leaving the conference room, his glance had been caught briefly by Russia. That was one of the moments in which he could understand why Russia had been appearing in his summoning, and why Buzby's chair had been broken under him more than once.
Russia had seemed unapproachable in a very strange way and there was no sign of his familiar, always friendly smile. Arthur could not prevent a shudder when Russia suddenly had become aware of his gaze.
He believed now that he was able to understand why Russia was so attached to his sunflowers. They made his country unique and alive.
"Here is your tea, Mr Kirkland." the waitress interrupted his thoughts as she placed the steaming cup in front of him.
But he just listened with half an ear and murmured, "Thank you very much." That which had just caught his attention was far more interesting than the tea and the waitress, who was quite pretty. Because there, there by the sunflowers, stood Russia.
Ivan loves sunflowers ...
Was what came to his mind. Totally surprised by this idea, he hastily took a sip of his tea, regretting it just a second later. The tea was hot and he had not even added some milk. And so happened what was bound to happen: he burned his lips.
But besides this unpleasant feeling on the tongue was the thought. He had never ever addressed Russia with his name in his whole long life. Neither in words nor in thoughts. Never. Ever.
But just now he had. And he began to understand ...
There was not Russia, the country with the coldest winter.
There was Ivan Braginski, a person with a weakness for sunflowers.