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Breakfast Of Champions: A Short
She woke up...
...at six-thirty. The sun had already peered over the horizon line, making the water outside the beach house glitter and sparkle like a sea of diamonds. The sand itself was still soft and dark, not quite woken up yet. A dim light shone through the window as she rose, looked at the phone answering machine on her bedside table - no calls or messages during the night. Running a hand through her hair to take care of any tangles from sleeping on the daybed, her other hand reached out and pushed the window further open, letting in the deliciously salty sea smell. From there she reached from her robe, moving to the bedroom door to pull it off the hook in one swift, familiar motion, and she carried that motion through to put it over her bare shoulders. She loosely tied the strap around her pinched waist as she made her way out to the kitchen.
Coffee was already brewed for her thanks to the automatic timer, fresh and piping hot, with a slight hint of vanilla aroma. She grabbed her mug from the dish drying rack - the same one she had been using for as long as she had been there: a small, hand-thrown clay thing in earth tones, the glaze peeling away from overuse - and poured herself a cup. Only three quarters of the way full. The rest she moved over to the fridge for, and filled it up to the brim with cold vanilla soy milk. Of course, the second she moved, it spilled, but it was such a beautiful day, all that the spilled coffee could get out of her was a slight giggle, and a kitchen towel thrown at it. She took a long, needy pull from the mug before setting the cup back down on the counter, and looked into the old, archaic refrigerator.
Pulling out the potatoes, the onions, eggs, mushrooms, and ... no, that was it, that was all her arms could hold for a moment. She set those on the counter as well, looking around for the tools she would need, pulling open drawers until she found the frying pan, the grater. A spatula she pulled from the jar sitting on the countertop beside the old gas stove - one of those ones you had to light with matches, like she remembered from her grandparents' homes.
She pulled out a kitchen towel from the drawer, set it on a bare spot of counter. Washed the potato. Grated it over the towel, and then she used the towel itself to drain all the excess water out of the potato. To the pantry, she turned in an almost dance-like motion, swift and elegant as the morning sun filtered even more through the large house windows, bathing everything inside in a soft light, and then twisted back to the stove, where she poured a bit of oil into a pan. She struck a match, and turned the gas on. With that small tell-tale 'poof' noise it made, she had lit the burner, and put the oiled pan atop the flame to start warming it.
While she waited, she cracked the two eggs into a small dish from the top-lefthand cupboard above the sink, and with a fork she scrambled them up together. From the same drawer as the fork, she pulled a large chef's knife, and, pulling the cutting board from where it hung on the wall beside the pot holders, she started chopping up the onion and the mushrooms. She stopped about halfway through, and put the potatoes into the sizzling hot pan, jumping back and smirking as some of the oil popped, and a droplet just missed her. That was why frying was fun - you had to be quick on your feet. Then she continued slicing her vegetables.
Everything was ready, then. It was perfect. The hash browns were starting to actually brown, but she didn't want them too crispy so she set to work with the spatula, scraping them and turning them. When they looked good all around, she poured the egg right on top of them, threw in the mushrooms and onions, and then she really had to concentrate. The pan was even hotter than before, so she only had one brief window to season everything perfectly. A little salt, a little pepper, and a pinch of garlic powder. Garlic powder made her happy. It was such a simple thing, and yet it added so much to the food, just like the other small things in life. A quick, rapid-fire spatula-turning and twisting, scrambling everything up together, and suddenly...
... She had breakfast.
The beach chair was ...
... about fifty yards from the house, and she carried her breakfast outside, in her robe, with her coffee, to eat it there. As the sun rose higher in the sky, she contemplated when to swim, which book she wanted to read next. All the great things about a vacation, alone.
And then her alarm clock went off.
It screamed in her ear, telling her to wake up, come back to reality. Reality was hot, and muggy, and ... a dark morning, the rain outside pounding her balcony deck, lightning splitting the sky and hitting the water tower across the street, the roar of the thunder just adding to the chaos of it all.
And there she was. Her own little apartment. She'd fallen asleep on the couch, a throw pillow stuck to her face with drool as she pulled away from it. A truck pulled up outside and parked next to the building with the small grocery store, but left its engine on, idling, making more noise. Sure enough, the paperwork she'd meant to go through the night before had fallen and scattered across the floor, her bird chirped and greeted the day that she was beginning to hate already, and she slipped slightly on her way off the couch - on one of her own papers mind you - as she hurried to turn her alarm clock off. The coffee had already started, and turned off and grown cold, thanks to the auto-shut-off.
The day grew darker as even more clouds rolled in, and the rain began to come in her balcony window as she stood there looking out at it, sipping her cold, bland coffee.
She pushed her potted tomato plant closer to the door so it would catch the rain, and she wouldn't have to water it later.