By Corissa Haury
Winter was on its way, but it was not yet present. It still felt like it could have been late autumn, when the cold doesn’t fall below 40 degrees and there is a damp stillness to the foggy air. One still put the seat warmer on when one got in the car, but it wouldn’t be the case if it weren’t for the fact that we are all spoiled by convenience. The atmosphere hung low, engulfing most of the road before any driver’s eyes. All of the sharp silhouettes of the evergreens looked pointy and mystic in the fog. Darkness had fallen on the North.
In a few weeks the snow would come. She could feel it in the colder mornings, when the temperature that had dropped twenty-five degrees the night before began to warm. She rose during the frostier parts of the early morning, leaving her partner’s warm slumbering body. He was a fulfillment of warmth underneath the bedcovers. It was hard to get up and leave him sleeping there. She envied his ability to do it so peacefully. Her own mind was an array of anxieties, images from technology, and uncertain dreams that turned out to be deja vu later.
She crept from the warm bed to the cold air, wondering if the promise of winter that had kissed her rosy cheeks aflame would stay, or whether they would have a mild cold season. The oceanside climate was unpredictable in the North. No one ever knew these days, with the way of the Earth and its turning tides and unhappy hurricanes, what the winters would be like. They could be full of snow, and ice, more than twenty feet of it. They could be mild as a spring day on the coast, 50 degrees and sunny. She looked in the mirror, thinking of how winter made people hardier. It made them skinnier, it made them have to try more. It made them have to survive.
Everyone has to survive. A little piece of her mind told her. Even these days. Another piece of her knew this was bullshit, and that she loved the knowledge that those in the city didn’t really survive so much as they sustained the life they already had. A winter in the city didn’t mean shit. She had learned that. It was a winter in the mountains that mattered. Perhaps the definition of true “survival” was well beyond her knowledge. She let the thought go at that. She had been working lately on her lifelong tendency towards arrogance.
After she went to bathroom and made herself fresh enough to stare at, she found her way into the kitchen and washed the dishes. She played a documentary on a small tablet video screen, resting precariously upon containers of lemonade powder and beans. It was not a long one, and very possibly inaccurate, but a fascinating exploration of the potential archaeological evidence of a mythological object. Of course most of the “documentary” was conjecture, so she did not enjoy it as much as she would have liked. She learned enough during the time she washed the dishes to satisfy the surface of her curiosity.
The kettle whistled, and she flicked off the stove’s flame and grabbed the handle of the kettle with a cloth. It was not long before she was pouring the boiling water into the french press. The rich, earthy aroma of her favorite coffee rose to the top of the press with the water. The coffee and water mixed, and she put the lid on it to let it sit. The kettle was returned to the top of the stove, and the cream brought out of the fridge for its sole purpose in this household.
The dishes were done soon, and with a warm mug in hand, cream and coffee swirling into a tide pool of creamy liquid, she sat on the couch and looked around the tiny living room. Having the time to herself in the morning was a routine she often appreciated. Grateful for her day and hoping the rest of it turned out as well as her coffee, she sipped on the dark, rich liquid with closed eyes.