The Reading Man, afoot, arrived back at his rented cottage, his mind still filled with all the morning had brought. He had come nowhere near processing the time at Gloria's as the heat, and his failure to anticipate its arrival, caught him mentally absent, as when he used to toss paper airplanes out the classroom window. First, he wanted to revisit what he knew and could remember about Teas of the World.
When Mr. Guscott completed his presentation, those at the table sat in a digesting sort of silence though no food had yet been served. There was much in his narrative to prompt contemplation. After some moments and Mr. Apotienne asking if he might look more closely the packets, study their papers and folds, finding the general esoterica difficult resist and Mr. Guscott nodding his assent, Gloria rose and returned from the kitchen with an array of sweets and savories and the makings for sampling Mr. Guscott's offerings.
|Cornish pasty canapes found here.|
Jack Guscott oversaw the sampling of teas, made certain there was nothing hurried or indifferent in the preparation or tasting. With that satisfactorily under way, he considered The Reading Man's comment and in quiet tones agreed that he visited many of, as he called them, "the far corners," always on his own, and stated simply that he and the growers had come to know and trust each other, "friendships built over time, and I never carry a camera. I don't go there to pry or invade. You might be surprised what a difference that can make."
Mr. Apotienne then wondered which offered the most excitement, the going out or the coming back, having seen so clearly the pleasure experienced from bringing forth his finds. He was told that there were equal measures, that he imagined it to be a bit like surfing, getting one's self to the wave crest, then expertly navigating back to shore. "I relish every part," he said.
In a moment of silence following this exchange, each seemed to notice that the shop begun to fill, that they were no longer hovering around the edge of the only inhabited island. Gloria excused herself to see to the customers. Fiona was attending to everyone admirably and another pair of hands wouldn't be too many. She assured Mr. Guscott they would meet soon to discuss her order and for him to try some newer menu items, thanked him so much for making her feel such a part of his adventures and nodded to Mr. Apotienne indicating she was glad he'd been able to be there. "It seemed this would be a good fit," she said. He agreed the fit was just fine, he wouldn't have missed it and hoped he and Mr. Guscott might have more time together before he was off for his next destination. "Next time, Robert," he told him, "you'll do the talking." Gloria's right eyebrow lifted less than a third of an inch at that while her eyes took on the alertness of a detective catching scent of his elusive quarry.