* * *
“Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white;
Nor waves the cypress in the palace walk;
Nor winks the gold fin in the porphyry front;
The fire-by wakens: waken thou with me…”
– Alfred, Lord Tennyson
from “The Princess”
* * *
The morning greets its autumn alarm, a sun beaming in relentlessly and giving its all before shriveling up, wringing out its warmth for the rejuvenation period during that are the winter months. The porch is not quite a square; through the year, the wood and shape has warped but not to the naked eye. Even if the naked eye could see the wooden frame, there wouldn’t be much distinction. There would be uncertain determination, and that would add up to assumption.
Promptly, the click of the coffee pot used specifically for lazy Sunday mornings clicked on to heat, to drip. Her feet slowly walked down the stairs, and the wooden steps’ creaks added to the symphony of the waking morning. The eight o’clock hour arrived much sooner than anticipated–as expected. Her bare feet stuck to the steps, but the cooling air provided generous relief and enough to make the toes curl upon impact.
It was difficult to slide beneath the sheets, roll over and through the mounds of comfort that the bed and pillows combined effort and coup-of-idol-temptation offered. Her rolling over after clicking the alarm off, pulling the covers up to her her chin, allowed her to face the the blinds, which were closed. The sun stretched through in skinny lengthy blades, and sometimes specks of ray poked her in the eye, which yielded a smile inspired partially by both fun embarrassment and consideration of forthcoming redundancy. The morning of the end of the weekend caused the expected shift, a decrease in excitement. Her eyes shifted towards the vacant pillow, the dust particles hypnotically dancing above it, before pulling the down comforter above her head, traveling into a clouded world surrounded by a golden halo. She rubbed beneath her eyes with separate fingers, smudging and removing mascara.
Upon entering the kitchen the coffee began wheezing its last effort to produce as much coffee as it could before losing steam. Standard procedure, the milk was removed from the fridge and placed on the counter as her free hand found the salt. Turning aside, a moment of spontaneity distracted her attention toward the window, which sits above the sink. placing her palms upon the edge of the the counter, she stared into the backyard; her eyes adjusted appropriately as her eyes scanned the backyard, over the shrubs and up-and-over the trees toward the sky. The only sounds heard were the ticking clock and the few birds that have chosen to stay, seeing how long they can last past October.
The coffee maker released it’s last exhale before this thoughtless moment helped ease her into waking. The coffee was poured three quarters up in the mug before the second guess kicked in. Her eye burned a little, and she relieved the temptation with a reward of more smeared mascara. Her focus shifted to the milk. She blinked. She filled the mug slightly more before sliding the sugar container back into formation and returning the milk to the fridge.
“Fuck it,” she whispers aloud, staring into her mug of coffee, which is hugged by both hands.
The porch never felt more inviting. The white wicker furniture obtained from her grandmother’s house held up strong. The unexpected passing a handful of years ago, the reminder, issued temporary reassurance of life’s preciousness and unpredictability. The powder blue cushions were the same. The quake that immediately ran through her body was strong enough to make her knees weak and as if someone tapped the back of her kneecap, which resulted in coffee spilling on some of her fingers. In unadulterated fashion, she slurped the spill up, wiped the access on her shirt, and the relief process ended with waving the stained fingers in the air.
After placing the mug on the table, a thin pane of glass protected the wicker, she wrapped herself in the throw which was resting upon the back of the armchair. The initial coldness of the cocoon was shocking, but the warming adjustment eased in quickly. She sat there, cupping the mug, sipping often to acclimate her taste buds to the black coffee. Looking from above, the picture would be hard to determine, her wrapped up in an ecru blanket, which covered her entire torso and her legs, which were tucked up and in. The mug of coffee would have been the focus.
Even the browns and red-oranges and pale yellows of the leaves scattered would have not been a distraction. The day’s sun, which was less than an hour old, brightly shown. The reflections off of the surrounding windows were piercing enough to shatter lenses of sunglasses, burning eyes as if they were innocent, defenseless ants.
Shaking the trees, the breeze was poignant enough for that. The rustling created opportune waves for anxious leaves to ride when they were good and ready. The cold gust came through the screen with determination, slapping her exposed face and moving, caressing her skin over cheekbones and around her ears, through her hair. She winced. The blanket could not be wrapped any tighter. The shock, despite irrelevant, was frightfully familiar. Her eyes closed tightly, which managed to squeeze out a teardrop. The pressing coldness cognitively scared her, but she expelled a strengthening breath of relief through pursed lips upon recognizing the comfort the air was lathered over her. The sickness washed away and was signaled by the last twinkle from the chimes.
Her eyes opened.
The shroud loosened and fell slightly, resting upon her shoulders. Grasping the mug with her left, her right plowed through her hair, fastening it up. Loose strands were accepted, simply.
And all this time not once did her hand movements clink against the mug. She was fine with that–a morning aspect that had graduated.
* * *
“…I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace…”
– Elizabeth Barrett Browning
from “How Do I Love Thee? Let Me Count The Ways”
* * *
[She is seen in the bathroom. The angle is wide, as if we are standing in the doorway, and we see the back of her; the angle allows us to see her face in the mirror.]
Looking into the mirror, she gazed into her eyes, which flawlessly reciprocated back. Her fingers pinched the sides of her mouth, and moved down. For the first time in a while, she truly examined her skin, pointing out new and old and maturing wrinkles. Warming and dampening a washcloth, she wipes the ashen smudges beneath her eyes. There is a bummed, As her soapy faced rinsed, the lights peaked at their brightness. She flicked her fingers before reaching for the towel to dab her face with.
[While sniffling, she blinks wide eyes. Taking a moment, she smiles. Her face drops, but raises quickly. She still smiles. She stares at her reflection, wearing that positive notion. She looks to the side, her reflection takes notice of the doorway.]
Her teeth never appeared, but the smirk was painted.
[Cut to black.]