I have come to really like Trio prompts. This post combines FOUR Trio prompts. Final Trio: bookcase, something cracked and a song you love Trio No. 3: a dark night, your fridge, and tears (of joy or sadness; your call) Odd Trio Redux: a slice of cake, a pair of flip-flops, and someone old and wise. An Odd Trio: a cat, a bowl of soup, and a beach towel
Senna awoke with a start. Her heart was racing and she felt the winter cold sneaking into the room through the damaged window sealing. Her forehead felt cold. She had been sweating in her sleep. She could not see anything. The house was motionless. No light came in through the windows. It was a moonless night, still and dark. She tried hard to remember her dream. She felt a dread but didn’t know why. She felt a fog settle inside her mind and knew it was too late. The imagery had slipped away.
Still breathing heavily and shivering under her thick duvet she pulled her right hand out from under the covers and fumbled for her alarm clock on her bedside table. She grabbed it and pushed the button on top of the clock to light up the screen. She had to do it a couple of times to get it to work. It was 3 am; Sunday morning. She had been asleep for 4 hours.
Senna felt thirsty. She begrudgingly turned on the lamp which she always had felt was too bright. She got up and brought her feet to the cold floor. She kept her eyes closed and ran her toes gingerly around searching for her fluffy flip-flops. She wore them and slowly opened her eyes. She stood up uncertain of her feet, and heard her tendons creak. An arthritic future flashed in her mind.
She made her way to the kitchen. It was a small apartment, with three rooms including the kitchen. She switched on the light above the sink and opened the tap to allow for some cold water to flow through. She fetched a glass from the cabinet and went on to fill it up. She emptied the contents in four gulps. She looked around the kitchen. It looked clean enough but still messy. Somehow she never seemed to know how to get it look perfect. It felt like home, but not quite like how she had imagined it.
She opened the fridge and saw the remaining bowl of potato-leek soup she had had the night before. She saw the sliver of the plum pudding cake, rum soaked and covered with cling film, shimmering naughtily with condensation. She felt the cold seeping into her bones and closed the fridge door. She wasn’t hungry anyway.
She put on a kettle for tea and went to her sitting room. She turned on the lamp by the door and she took a second to observe the shadows her furniture made. The room felt cold. She remembered the sweater her mother had knit her last year for Christmas.
She walked by her bookcase that had everything she loved on display. The books she has read were arranged on the top shelf, the ones she would like to read were ordered there on: genre-wise and author-wise. She hadn’t found the time to alphabetise them yet. At eye level, she had propped up a few seasonal greeting cards, a wedding invitation, a newborn announcement and in the corner a golden maneki-neko – “beckoning cat”; a Japanese good luck charm. She wasn’t superstitious but had found the incessant waving reassuring. She was glad to have something moving in the apartment besides her.
There was a film of dust on everything. It had been a while since she had touched anything on these shelves. Her eyes scanned her life and the life of others in inanimate objects. She ran her finger over one of the shelves to sense the neglect physically. Lost in her thoughts, her finger ran through to the end of the shelf. She turned as she heard the crash. She knew what it was before she picked it up. It was a framed photograph of her as a little girl; a rare moment of innocent joy caught on a beach. She could see her mother’s shadow caught in the corner of the image. She saw the bright blue beach towel with giant yellow flowers that was her mom favoured.
The glass had cracked. Senna was upset. It was a cheap frame but a valuable memory. She wished she had kept more pictures in her home. But didn’t someone old and wise once say that real memories are those that are not on our walls?
She was startled by the kettle whistle and walked back to the kitchen with the broken picture frame still in her hand. She felt her reverie edging away and the starkness of her reality close in. She was alone and cold. She wiped away her tears.
“Merry Christmas Mom. I miss you.”
The walls absorbed her voice that came out hoarse and cracked. She kept the picture frame on the breakfast nook and started preparing her tea. As she steeped the teabag and started at the picture a song came to her. In silent chords and distinct notes; in peaceful hums and misplaced words – sang every night with tenderness. She sang to herself, in la-la’s and hm-hm’s.
Senna smiled, finally feeling warm as her night terrors vanished.
I wrote a separate post for Trio No. 4 (speeding car, a phone call, and a crisp, bright morning). Please click here to read.