Alternatives

I wake up and try to remember what day it is. Thursday. F is still in dreamland next to me. I wonder what he’s dreaming about, because he’s chuckling lightly into his pillow. I exit the bedroom on tiptoes, and come out to sit at our table by the window. It overlooks the garden, and from where I’m sitting, I see nothing but green: all those tree leaves take on a yellowy brilliance in the morning sunlight. I open the window to let in the fresh clean air. The world is silent, except for one faraway cheeping bird. There’s some leftover coffee in the pot, so I add it to a glass with some ice and toast some bread. It’s going to be another hot day, and I’m glad to eat while it’s still cool enough to satiate my appetite, before the heat steals it away.

Today’s brekky: Iced coffee and toasted grain bread spread with butter and crushed raspberries.

I crunch into my toast and wonder. Where F and I will be tomorrow, next year, in 5 years. Where we’ll travel next. Why the Incas practiced cranial binding. What my family’s doing at the moment. How the Ellis book I’m reading will finish, and what I should read next. How the word “toejam” came to be. Whether I’ve got it in me to accomplish anything resembling greatness. What New Zealand is like. What I can whip up for lunch today. How humans first invented butter. What I would do if I didn’t have to work today…

I would close all the blinds and shutters to keep out the heat.  In the cool darkness of our apartment, I would bake a walnut coffee cake with a thin layer of coffee buttercream icing, and keep it in the fridge. Like those impossibly hot summer days when I was a girl, I would curl up with iced coffee and a good book; the bits of sunlight that get past the shades would offer just enough light to read by. In those days, my mother would warn me that it was bad for my vision; now it’s F who doesn’t want me straining my eyes. But I’ve always loved the cozy feeling of hunkering down in the dark while the outside world is screaming hot.

I turn back to my iced coffee, of which I’ve just taken the last gulp, and sigh. Work starts in a couple hours.

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