7.30am: Mornings are slow. I harbour a desire to be a smoother kind of person. The type of woman who rises early, before the sun. I wish to potter about the house in the silent dawn, to pick up pens and pencils and let my hands busy themselves before my brain awakens. I want crispy white shirts freshly ironed, ready for the day. But I'm the woman who lies groggy after the third time hitting snooze, hair rumpled and face crushed, marred by lines from the pillow. He gets up before me; dresses and washes in the bathroom before coming back to bed to hold me. Often I fall asleep again as he tiptoes out the door. This is my introduction to the day.
7.45am: Naked wandering into the kitchen. Pale. Padding feet and bleary eyes and tousled hair. Coffee calls to me. It is the centring force to my days. The gravitational pull tethering me to the world, enabling me to wander the face of the earth with clarity and precision. Without it I am dust. I wish it weren't so. I don't want to be so jumped up on this brown, dark stimulant. But each morning my hands reach for the bag in the fridge, spoon out the soft, earthy grinds. I press them down methodically. The kettle boils in the background. Flames lick the base of the peculator, silver shining in the white light of the morning. I dollop spoonfuls of natural yogurt into a bowl. Black and white contrasting against one another; the pale creamy product against the dank, dark brew softly bubbling away on the stove top. I eat yogurt each morning. I have tricked myself into believe it does something healthy to my tummy, placating me before I rile myself up on caffeine. I don't even know if this is good for me, but I do it anyway.
7.47am: In the bottom chamber of the percolator, cool water begins to warm. Fire pushes the water higher and higher, passing it through the blackness above. Foaming like a wave crashing on the shore, a golden crema bubbles to the surface and spews forth, bursting out of the spout and collecting in the silvery receptacle. My cup and my consciousness eagerly awaits the delivery of my wake-up juice. I hear the bubbling and the sound of steam screaming inside the metal chambers, and I rush to the stove, swiftly snapping off the supply of gas and killing the flame.
7.49am: Outside the kitchen window, evergreen trees sway gently. It is early spring. Several weeks ago an arborist came and lopped off the highest branches of the tree, stripping back the greenery and limbs, letting the light stream through. We had grown accustomed to the green dappled light greeting us through the kitchen window each morning. Watching the birds dance about while we lay languid and still in bed, encased in blankets and the blush of recently-departed dreaming. When the trees were trimmed it felt akin to a bad haircut; something I had witnessed but had not spoken out against. I pour myself a cup of coffee: first the coffee from the stovetop percolator, followed quickly by hot water from the kettle, letting the black liquid rise perilously close to the edge of the mug.
7.51am: Steam tickles my nose and fogs my glasses. I feel the warmth of my beverage radiating into the flesh of my palms, like I'm holding hands with someone I love. I looked out the window. It has only been a few weeks, but already the trees outside the kitchen have bounced back from their harsh haircut. New green leaves rush to fill the spaces made clear by the removed limbs. Nature finds a way. I draw the mug close to my face and take in my first sip of the day. I have ten minutes to finish getting ready before, fuelled by caffeine, I rush out the door and into the fray of cars and trains and nine to five.
8.05am: The empty coffee mug sits upturned, dirty, in the sink. I leave for the day.