Morning Rituals

She sat at her table in the bedroom and watched the sun rising as she brushed her hair. It was thick hair and it was knotty and looked like Ophelia from a Pre-Raphaelite painting when it was brushed and pulled back behind her neck. The firelight, dimmer now, showed red on her hair from certain angles as the weak light from outside grew slowly stronger and the light from the fire grate waned at a faster rate.
She wore a Japanese gown made of silk with patterns of cherry blossoms on it and she wore a scarf too, of cashmere, and a knitted nightie underneath with thick thermal underwear beneath that – and you could say that she was not yet cold. The pale sky shone clear and the leafless trees in a row on the fence line seemed black in contrast with the gathering daylight. A small pug looked out the window too, from its vantage point on her lap, and they were both comfortable and warm and satisfied together.
Footsteps could be heard outside, in the corridor, on the floorboards, and then doors opening and closing downstairs and harder, louder steps. The pipes began their squeaking and rattling chorus as hot water ran through them for the first time in the day and she knew that they were cooking in the kitchen now.
The big front door made a loud thudding noise as it was slammed. He was outside now, she thought. He must already have had his cup of tea.
Having brushed her hair two hundred times each side, she began to dress in front of the still glowing embers of the fire. The pug sat on the bed and watched her.
Barking from other dogs could be heard outside, from outside dogs – there were inside and outside dogs – as they did the things they normally did when someone went outside and greeted them for the first time. The pug didn’t know what they did. He assumed they probably jumped up and down with excitement, but he wasn’t sure. He had to guess these things. He approved of the dress his mistress was putting on. It was green and shimmery and it suited her.
She sat again at her table with the mirror before her. The light through the window was strong now, although not yet warm. She put on earrings and a necklace and looked over the other items in her box of jewels and she felt, not for the first time, that it was a shame she couldn’t wear them all at the same time. It was a childish thought, but it amused her.
A series of explosive engine coughs could now be heard, separated by whining mechanical groans accompanied by high-pitched, hysterical canine yapping. The pug winced with each bang but she hardly noticed, lost as she was in her treasures. And then, a loud, clear, distinct voice: “The tractor’s fucked again, Helen!”
She would remind her husband to put the machine in gear in a minute – he was prone to forgetting these things – but she wanted to try a few more pairs of earrings on first.

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Published in: on May 6, 2014 at 8:23 pm  Leave a Comment  

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