Her favorite mornings were the mornings that she was up before he was. Everything was quiet and cool. All the heat of the day before had been lost somewhere in the darkness. All the noise had finished its echoes and faded away.
There was just empty space between the walls, scrubbed clean and every breath in was slow, easy. She slipped out of bed, half asleep and sluggish, and there was no need to wake up quickly. She shuffled down the hall, put the tea kettle on the stove and just stood in the sunlight while she waited for the water to heat. Maybe it took five minutes. Maybe it took half an hour. It didn’t matter to her sleepy mind, still wrapped in layers of distance and unhurried, unconscious thought.
When the kettle started to whistle, it started at a polite whisper, waking up as slowly as she did. She poured hot water over her tea, let it seep, let time seep as well. She held the cup in her hands, and the warm sank into her fingers. It wound up her arms. It loosened her shoulders and sank down into her chest until it touched something in there and she remembered that she was a beating, breathing, moving thing. She took her first sip and that sank down too, collided with the heat and she blinked a few times and felt human.
She liked to wake up slow.
When he came out of the bedroom, it was always fast. It was always like jumping into water, or racing for a finish line, or sliding down the side of a hill. He didn’t tip-toe, he strode. He didn’t slide doors open, he shoved through them. He didn’t close a door, he clapped it shut. Every sharp little motion and noise a warning to the world that he was awake and ready to meet it today.
If she woke up first, swallowed in that quiet, remembered how to be before he came out to clatter around the house, it was better.
So that when he strode into the kitchen behind her, she could make that quick little turn and meet him, fast as him. She smiled and he smiled back. He steadied and she sped up. It was the only way she knew to wake up, not fall out of unconsciousness.
I’m a thief! I stole the first line of this piece from my friend, Bek. Be sure to check out her blog tomorrow to see the original piece she wrote.