(Looking & Mission, Jan 20-21)
Hunched just behind the shrub-encircled tree, he squeezes his eyes shut. He’s grown to love the sunny-morning scent that precedes the screech and bang of the screen door, the soft pad of bare feet on cold, painted cement, followed by the softer hush of those feet crossing the grass. The wooden chair groans as she lowers herself onto its cool slant and tucks her legs out of the dew.
The scent strengthens as she sips from the large ceramic cup, its side handle curving slightly upwards and flowing firm down along its tall side. She usually crosses back to the cabin and fetches herself another cup, sometimes twice, if the sun and wind is right and the lake is busy with white-sailed vessels. Eyes still closed, her voice — a husky contralto — carries over the roughly-mowed grass and over to his hidden place in the shrubby meadow. She sighs and whispers the invocation: Ahhhh, coffee.
He opens his eyes. He has to look now, for the sight of the orange being peeled, oil spritzing into the shaft of sunlight that bathes the wooden chair, combined with its scent, creates in him a rush of heat and hunger like nothing his woodland soul has ever experienced.
Once, when she’d trekked back into her cabin for more of the coffee, he scurried forth, anxiously pulling his beard and tripping over his rabbit-skin boots, to grab a piece of orange peel she’d dropped. He’d delighted, on cool and moonless nights, in the warmth of the sensory memory it evoked. But the scent of orange peel and fruit faded as the peel dried, and his craving for her morning ritual had only grown.
On this morning, she tips her head slightly as the shrub and long grasses tremble, and pauses. There are two wedges of orange left. She carefully drops one wedge on the chair’s arm and the last into her mouth. Swinging her legs off the chair and placing her feet in the ground, she tips the coffee mug back and empties it. Up she goes, across the grass and into the cabin, screen door slamming like a gunshot. She is singing, and a terrible clattering is going on inside, and he knows she’ll be busy for a short while as she fetches that second cup. In this moment, he has a mission and a quest.
He’s on the chair in a trice. The orange wedge breaks, bleeding sweet juice, and dribbles into his beard and onto his belly. He is so nearly enchanted that he doesn’t notice her standing on the porch, coffee in hand, smiling at him.
© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2022)
(For the other’s point of view in a 6 sentence story, please click to my earlier post: Solitude’s End)
A micro a day, for Just-Jot-It-January, hosted by Linda G. Hill. For this challenge bloggers share our responses (links below). If a prompt tickles your imagination, please click its connecting link to read more!
To see others’ Jan 20 & Jan 21 responses, please click the following: