300-word story: An elderly couple take part in a newly established daily ritual.
I’ve recently taken to getting up early to watch the sunrise. It’s not like in the movies, where golden needles rudely prod the sleeping sky. It’s a lot more leisurely, with the last of the stars dissolving as the grey softens to become salmon in hue, followed by wisps of red, orange, yellow, even apple green before settling into the familiar blue that grows in brilliance as the day progresses. My wife joins me towards the end, just as the pastel shades are dispersing like steam from a kettle.
Up until lately we had never been morning people. For the fifty-odd years we’ve lived together, not once did we even consider catching the proverbial worm. It’s only during these last few months that I’ve had the urge to get up when it’s still dark, shuffle downstairs to the lounge and plonk myself into my favourite armchair.
Despite sunrise taking place at different times according to where we are on the calendar, I’m always there to see it start and she turns up as it’s nearing completion. It has become our ritual as much as when we used to go dancing as teenagers, or our more recent bingo sessions followed by fish and chips each Friday. Funny how things can become part of your routine without you even noticing.
No words are ever exchanged as we watch the new day begin. This morning there’s a delicate drizzle that makes the scene even more breathtaking, covering the window in tiny freckles that capture the light. As soon as the natural performance has reached its finale, my wife walks across the room to the mantelpiece. Standing beside the urn that holds her ashes, she smiles at me for a moment before fading away, like a distant star gently obscured by the daytime glow.
Copyright © 2020 Rich Sutherland
Image: Markus Spiske