Note: This little story started in response to Jane Dougherty’s Microfiction Challenge. I do enjoy the continued influence of her weekly prompts and paintings. It is pure synchronicity that they always blend right into the narrative. But please forgive me for not following the rules. I am clearly coloring outside the box here or rather, spilling over the word count limit. That said, this is not a true entry for this week’s prompt, but I hope to continue tagging along as this story progresses. The image this week is by Henri Rousseau. It’s not a perfect fit, however the theme is spot on. I may write a separate 200 word story as well. But for those of you following this one…I give you Seasoning – Part 9. You can read previous installments HERE.
Hannah woke to the fluttering trill of birdsong. She peered out the window to see mist hovering in patches over the garden while the sun glowed red behind the trees bordering the horizon. It reminded her of a story from her childhood. “All birds sing in the morning, each one checking in with the others to let them know they have survived the night.”
Hannah pursed her lips and chirped softly, “Peep, peep, peep. I too survived the night my little friends.”
She splashed cool water on her face, pulled her hair into a twist and dressed in a simple a-lined dress topped with a loose fitting jumper.
The house was quiet so Hannah took the opportunity to explore. Next to the kitchen she found a pantry, a closet with cleaning tools and a mud room with laundry area and shelves with garden tools and clay pots.
Back in the kitchen, she assembled the coffee pot. While it brewed, Hannah gathered butter from the icebox, several fresh eggs from a blue ceramic bowl on the counter and bread for toasting.
“I see you’re finding your way around Hannah! Ah, fresh coffee. My favorite thing to wake up to!”
“Yes Ma’am! Good morning! How do you take your eggs? By the way, I love this kitchen!”
“Well you know what they say, the kitchen is the heart of a home, and Alice, well, she loved to cook, loved this kitchen.” Helen paused, tears welling in the corners of her eyes. “Poached, I take my eggs poached.” She dabbed the tears from her cheeks and sipped coffee while Hannah prepared poached eggs and toast to perfection.
“Oh, this is delicious! Now have a seat Hannah. I’ve written a schedule for you and numbers for the market, pharmacy, butcher, doctor, and the Gordons who live next door. That’s where you can get more of those eggs. Mrs. Gordon, Margery, told me to tell you to call or stop by anytime. She’s a bit of a talker, but a very nice woman.”
“Will Mr. Chambers be joining us for breakfast?”
The front door slammed. “Well there’s our answer! Honestly Hannah, I’m so sorry he’s being such…ugh! He just infuriates me so!” Helen tapped her fingertips on the table, “We need a plan. I want you to prepare breakfast and dinner each day, whether he eats it or not. Set a place at the table.”
“But what if he leaves it to spoil?”
“You’re going to need good compost for that garden of yours. Just consider it food for the flowers! Now, I know that I said I planned to stay until you got settled in, but I’m afraid I am needed back up north. Our dear Aunt Millie has taken ill. You understand.”
“You’re leaving? But I just got here! What if I…I’m sorry, of course, I understand.”
“It’s all spelled out Hannah. I took great care to list every detail.” Helen tapped the instructions on the table. “Of course you can call me and Margery is next door. I do hope you’ll manage to find time for that garden. Spring is just around the corner! Not to worry, I’ll be back in a few months to check on you.”
“Yes Ma’am. When are you leaving?”
“This afternoon. The train leaves in four hours.”