A Traitors’ Tea

tea

“Milk, lemon, sugar?” I ask.

“Oh, I’m fine, thanks,” says Simon Peter.  “I like my tea black.”

“I’ll have a little milk,” says Edmund, holding out his cup.  “That’s good,” he adds after I splash some in.

I sigh as I seat myself at the table.  “I assume you know why I’ve asked you here today,” I say, a little resigned, a little awkwardly.  “I wanted to have a traitors’ tea.”

They both look at me, surprised but not offended.  The look on their faces is asking a curious, Why us?

Stuttering, I say, “Well, you know, I mean … Peter, you … denied that you even knew him, right?  And Edmund, umm, you … sort of betrayed your family and him, didn’t you?  I just … I thought maybe the three of us could …  I’m sorry.  This is uncomfortable.”  I stare down at my tea.

But the two of them smile.  “No, no, you’re right,” says Peter.  “You’re absolutely right.”

“It’s true,” says Edmund.  “It’s just been such a long time as I’ve thought of myself that way.”

“Me too,” agrees Simon Peter.  “A long time.”

I’m ashamed.  I am the only one who truly belongs at this traitors’ tea.  I had thought I’d be in good company, but now I realize that I’m on my own.

They know what I’m thinking.  Edmund shakes his head, just a little, just enough for me to see that he understands.  Peter reaches out and takes my hand.  “You do belong here,” he says, giving it a tiny squeeze.  “This is a gathering of the redeemed.”

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