Wendryn did not take this week off from the writing challenge, but I just finished teaching a summer class, and had the time to play again, so here I am. I was challenged by Catherine, who gave me the prompt “Silence is golden.” This evoked a memory, which is described below. I, in turn, challenged Amanda. I normally write at Rhapsody in Numbers.
The automatic light timer clicks into place, and the 80s-tastic cassette deck kicks into gear. The plaintive strains of Swan Lake fill the small room. They probably make alarm clocks with built-in tape players, but why spend the money when a cheap piece of hardware can get the job done nearly as well?
I roll over to check the time. The bright red LEDs of the clock radio, almost blinding in the otherwise pitch black morning, read 4:59. The timer was only off by a minute this morning. Not bad.
Three movements into Tchaikovsky’s ballet, I finally decide to brave the cold and get moving. My naked feet slap on the frozen concrete floor as I feel my way across the room to turn off the music and find my slippers and robe.
Blearily, I shuffle up the old stairs. They creak and groan as I ascend into the kitchen. The heaters pop and click, working overtime to keep the house overly warm. I pad through the kitchen and living room, then up another half flight of stairs to the bathroom.
I flip the light switch, then close and lock the door as quietly as possible, so as not to wake anyone else. I turn on the hot water, then pop the valve to direct it to the showerhead, rather than the facet for the bath. The water, initially cold, pounds down into the tub. I disrobe as the stream warms up, then stick a hand in to check the temperature.
After striking the right balance, I step in and pull the curtain closed with a whoosh. I enjoy the hot water for a moment, then begin my morning ablutions—first the soap, then the shampoo, then the toothbrush. The brush rattles and tickles, but does its job.
The water shuts off with a thunk, and I step out of the shower and towel myself dry. I put my robe back on, and head back down to my room in the basement. Turning on the light, I check the time again. 5:27. I’ve got about 15 minutes before I have to head out. Probably not enough time for coffee. Ah, well. The hot water was at least as stimulating.
I get dressed for the cold, pack my bag for class, and lace up my heavy boots. I thud back up the stairs, then into the still, dark morning, and—
Profound and utter silence.
It snowed overnight, and is still snowing now. It comes down in large flakes, drifting through the cuprous light of the streetlights. The streets are empty, and covered with a blanket of fresh snow. The scent of frost is in the air.