NaNo began today. My personal writing goal is 2000 words a day, and to achieve that I'm doing two sessions- one in the morning and one at night after the kids are in bed. I've achieved my first 1K for the day and am about to embark on the next, but I need to get into the mood. So I'm doing something I don't normally do. It's been a terrible two days and I figured, Why the hey not? I'm posting my first page. You probably won't see me do this again. Chances are, I'll take this post down later after a bout of nerves. I'm not even linking it to any of my social media accounts, so if you chance upon this, consider yourself... well... consider yourself one of a very few. Here goes.
Some people hate Mondays. I've never been one of those people. That said, I hate mornings. Any morning. And this particular Monday morning was proving to be retched. I'd hardly slept, the baby up and crying every few hours. I'd been careful not to make too much noise and wake Adam, who needed to get up early for his flight. The flight was to New Orleans, where Adam's company was hosting a convention that was supposed to be more meetings than debauchery. He'd be gone for a full week, only to return Friday afternoon and leave again Sunday evening for three days in Dallas. I wasn't looking forward to all that time alone.
The alarm sounded, and though I was already awake, the noise of it startled me. I sat up in bed, turned the electronic chiming off, and rubbed my eyes. The house was early morning quiet, the soft pattering of water running in the bathroom and a sliver of light shining from under its door my only clue that anyone but me was up. I slid my legs over the side of the bed, slipped my feet into my slippers, and padded downstairs to get coffee. I rubbed my eyes as I walked. The kitchen was full of the roasted aroma. I inhaled it deeply and said a brief prayer of thanks to God for coffee and its magical properties, for Adam and his salary, which enabled us to buy a state-of-the-art programmable coffeemaker, and then for my own foresight to have set the machine up last night. It was not the kind of morning to have to wait for caffeine. I poured myself a cup, took a first sip, a second gulp, then made Adam a mug and brought both upstairs.
I nudged the bathroom door open with my hip and went in. Adam was still showering and the room was full of steam. I set both mugs on the counter and wiped a clear spot on the mirror.
“Morning,” I said. “I brought you some coffee.”
“Thanks, babe,” Adam called back cheerfully.
He's abnormally chipper in the morning. We are complete opposites in this respect.
I frowned, analyzed my reflection in the blurry glass, and frowned again. Even through the vapor I could see I looked tired. There was nearly an inch of outgrowth on my highlights, my blue eyes were flat and there were purple circles underneath. My tan was fading and my skin's golden tone was yellowing.
The water turned off. Adam stepped out from behind the glass and wrapped himself in a thick, beige towel. He meticulously dried his feet on the bath mat, then met me at the counter and gave me a kiss on the cheek. His face was soft and smelled slightly of eucalyptus. I turned to him and noticed a small patch of hair on his jawline.
“You missed a spot,” I said.
“Did I?” he asked, and felt for it.
“Let me help you with that,” I offered, and reached for the razor in its cup.
“It's okay. I've got it,” Adam assured.
He cleaned a spot on the mirror with his towel, wrapped it back around his waist, and found the patch. I put some toothpaste on my toothbrush and watched as he wet his shaving brush, swirled it in the soap and applied the lather to his face. The patch was no bigger than two, maybe three millimeters, but it didn't matter to Adam. Everything must be done in a certain way.
My teeth were brushed, my mouth rinsed by the time he'd finished. I raised an eyebrow and looked at him.
“You know you're ridiculous, don't you?”
“Laurel, the only way to do things is to do them right.”
His face was earnest, but a smile crept on it. He's fully aware of his idiosyncrasies. I smiled back. I'm aware of them as well, and some things cannot be helped.
“Yes, well, your coffee's getting cold.”
He took a sip.
“Not yet, babe. Lukewarm, just like I like it.”