>> Saturday, June 4, 2011
She shuffles towards the kitchen, leaving the lights off. She doesn't want to wake the baby and besides, she was already squinting from the faint light peaking around the edges of the shades. When the robins started singing, she figured she might as well get up. Morning is here and any shot at actually getting some sleep is futile.
She fills the kettle at the sink, blinking hard. Scrunching her nose and squinting, she strains to make out the numbers on the microwave without her contacts. 4:45. She groans. Good lord. I couldn’t even it make to five.
She sets the kettle on the stovetop and turns the dial, listening for the click click poof of the flame. She tugs at the curtains above the sink, pulling them back, popping off the safety lock on the windows and sliding them wider than the two-inch opening.
From rote memory, she opens the bag, pours the beans, clicks the lid in place and grinds, wincing at the volume, prematurely cursing herself for waking the baby. She freezes and waits, but nothing.
The sky creeps, pulling light through navy, bleeding oranges and pinks across and outward, a silent show she takes in, waiting for the water to boil. The heaviness settles low in her belly, like it has for weeks. It almost carries the comfort of the familiar at this point, a constant presence filling her, filling the spaces of lost appetite.
He’s been gone three weeks. The planning and the rituals are over, family has flown back home, friends are busy at work and the calls have dwindled. The flowers have died but they’re still in their vases, the pungent odor of decaying plant matter emanating from the murky water, but she can’t muster the psychic energy to toss them.
He’s gone. He was here and then he wasn’t and now he’s gone. And she is here, here with her babies, yet very much not here and it’s only the drudgery of the mundane that gets her through. Get up, make the coffee, wake the kids, nurse the baby, dress, feed, shuttle, read, snuggle, feed, bathe, tuck, repeat. The oldest one knows that Mommy is sad, and she tries to compensate with perfection, but her fragility is all too clear. The baby is still oblivious. He still babbles Dadadadadada and he doesn’t seem to notice when the tears fall, when her shoulders heave with sobs during their mornings together, when it’s safe while his sister is at school and it’s just the two of them and the suffocating silence of the house.
The kettle whistles, jarring her back into the kitchen, the sky the palest of blues and the sun bathing the tile in its morning’s glow. She pours the water into the press, watching it seep into the grounds, saturating the dark layers and filling the pot with a rich murkiness. The steam rises as she pours, scalding her hand as it holds the kettle handle, but she leaves it there, tears brimming up and over as she realizes she is still making coffee for two.
A little fiction freewrite, just for fun. A year ago I brain-dumped the first 1200 words of my novel and then I let it sit. Scenes pop into my head all the time, but I rarely get them down. Figured this time I would free-write whatever came, whether or not I ever get my butt in gear and bring this baby to fruition.
And hey -- please take it easy on me... I spent about 5 minutes making a couple of minor edits so this isn't at all polished. It's a little scary throwing something out of the norm out here in public, but I'm trying to push myself beyond my comfort zone and focus on generating ideas rather than on achieving perfection.