Seasoning- Part 14

painting by Antos Frolka – Auf dem Weg zur Kirche (On the way to Church)


Seasoning – Part 14

Henry dutifully took a bite of food closing his eyes as he savored it slowly.

Hanna sat down next to him, whipping her cloth napkin with a snap before laying it gently over her lap. They ate in silence but for the sound of utensils pinging on china. It was music to her ears. She paused for a moment to glance at Henry, smiling as she looked down at his empty plate, satisfied that he had eaten every last morsel. Unconsciously she sighed relieving days of tension that had mounted inside her.

“Excuse me. Did you say something Hannah?”

“No. It’s just been a long day.”

“A long day and night! …Hannah?”

The tone in Henry’s voice startled Hannah. She raised the napkin to her lips dabbing them  daintily before looking up. He was staring intensely at her when their eyes met. “Yes?” she whispered.

Henry reached across the table cupping her hand under his. “I want to thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for helping me tonight…for preparing this delicious dinner…for…”

“Of course. It is my job. I am happy to be of service.”

“You interrupted me, Hannah…”

“I’m sorry. I’m always saying the wrong….”

Henry placed his fingers gently over her lips, “Shhhh, please let me finish. Most of all I want to thank you for helping me, for letting me…oh I don’t know what’s gotten into me. Maybe it was the fire that jolted me, that made me feel something for the first time in years.” Henry closed his eyes breathing deeply to regain focus. “No. I’m not being honest. It wasn’t the fire Hannah. It was you.” Henry slid his fingers upward from her lips, caressing her cheek, then brushing the damp hair from her forehead.

“Oh…I can’t help feeling…I know we’ve never met before this week, but I feel as though I know you. It’s as if we’ve known each other for a very long time. Is that strange?”

“No Hannah, it’s not strange. I feel it too.” Henry reached for her hand again. “But it’s late. We’re both exhausted. We should get some sleep.” He lifted her hand brushing it tenderly with his lips. “We’ll talk more in the morning. Good night.”

“Goodnight…” Hannah watched him depart to his chambers. All she could think about was tomorrow. She cleared the table and set about cleaning the dishes.  As exhausted as she was, she pushed herself to finish the task. It gave her time to sort through the questions swirling in her head.”How do I know this man? Have we met?” As impossible as it was, Hannah could not make sense of what she was feeling; of what she knew in her heart. Finally, she headed back to her room, pealed off her ruined tea dress, and slipped between the sheets, settling her weary head into the soft embrace of her pillow.

Two restless souls stared at the ceiling from their beds that night; souls that cursed the night and longed for the dawn.

——————–

Another installment of Seasoning. Inspired in part by the painting above by Antos Frolka retitled by Jane Dougherty for the prompt as “a satisfied couple”. I am afraid that my characters this week are anything but, each one stirred by strange memories of a distant past. Though if we’re to play devil’s advocate here, perhaps it is the memory of the satisfied couple that they once were in another lifetime that has them so befuddled! Read other installments of Seasoning HERE . 


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