Tiny stood outside Clementine’s Café and sniffed at the warm caramel clouds that puffed through the window. One was shaped like a teacup. Another like a slice of cake. Her nose tingled. The cafe smelled like friendship and smiles; she had to go inside. Tiny slipped through the door and sat at the miniature dining-set in the display case in the window. Her smile beamed from the inside out, and she raised her chin like a duchess at high tea.
In that moment, a teacup clattered to the table splashing tea across the table and over Tiny. As Tiny wiped her skirt, she heard a voice—it was coming from the teacup.
“Whoops! Sorry, always spilling things. Everyone calls me Clumsy Candace. On account of me being a factory second, least that’s what Teapot says. Who are you then?”
Tiny looked around the bustling café but no-one else seemed to be talking to their teacups. She shrugged and turned back to Candace. “I’m Tiny. It’s nice to meet you.”
“And you, too! Spoon say I’ve got a chip on my shoulder, but I can’t help being dropped on my rim, can I?” She sighed. “I’m a terrible teacup.”
Tiny gave an awkward smile. Candace wasn’t being very nice to herself. “I think you’re quite a good teacup. You hold tea really well, better than I could. And the pattern around your foot is so pretty.”
A puff of steam rose from Candace’s well. “That’s nice of you to say. Saucer says I talk too much, but the truth is, it’s lonely here. Everyone’s busy, always rushing around. No time for an old china teacup like myself.” A drop of condensation rolled down her cheek.
Tiny felt her heart squeeze. Candace needed a friend. Tiny understood. Sometimes when she felt a hollow of loneliness she’d go outside and talk to the trees. But that wasn’t possible for Candace. And so Tiny sat back and heard Candace tell her story—her journey from the factory floor to the kitchen shelf, and the unforgettable afternoon she served tea to the mayor’s wife. Tiny listened until the tea went cold, the lights turned out, and Candace was finally whisked away to meet the pot-washer.
The café was still and quiet. Tiny wanted to tell someone about her adventure, but there was no one left to tell. But there was one place where she knew she’d be heard. And so she gathered her things, whispered her thanks, and headed straight for the Wild Briar Wood.