He rolled over to hit the top of the clock that screamed for him to wake. He took a deep breath and rubbed his hands over his sleep encrusted eyelids. Slowly, his legs moved over the side of the mattress, warm toes quickly finding slippers waiting to be occupied. He sat for a just a moment, allowing his yawn to finish stretching the corners of his mouth. Another deep breath and a slight push off the bed sent him in motion toward the bathroom. He shuffled across the hardwood floor with muffled heel scuffs. Four in the morning comes too quickly he thought as he searched for the light switch.
The sudden brightness made him contort his face as he snapped his eyes shut. He allowed his eyes to take their time to adjust. With a few quick blinks, he was staring at his reflection. The youngest looking thing on his well-aged face, were the two pools of cinnamon, flecked with green star-bursts set well into deep crow’s feet and permanent dark circles. His pearl white hair, sheared close to his head. A style he kept from his military days some 70 years prior. Closely examining his weathered face, he decided after swiping the back of his fingers under his chin, that he could sneak another day without a shave. Two days ago he nicked a spot which bled for hours. Damn Coumadin.
He carefully pulled the sheets and blankets back to the top of the headboard and neatly tucked them under the pillow. Moving to the undisturbed side of the bed, he began to dress with the clothes he set out the night before.
Breakfast was simple; a cup of black coffee and a fried egg with a piece of toast on a white paper plate. This was the worst part of his day. He did not like the quiet and for the past three years it had been unbearable. He glanced at the empty chair where his beloved Helen would sit with him every day, her hands cradling her coffee cup as she sat across from him. This was the time of day they talked and laughed. They told stories and reviewed events that made up their daily life over breakfast rather than dinner. The life of a baker seemed to dictate this to be the norm.
Today was Valentine’s Day and he was sure to sell out of the bakery’s famed ‘Helen Hearts’. He created them just for her. Her sweet tooth was her one weakness and his frosted round confections were her favorite. He can still hear her sweet voice teasing him, “Now, Robert, don’t be stingy with those sprinkles! The kids love them!” Giving each donut another healthy dose of tiny sugared hearts, “I think it is YOU that loves them, not the kids!” he jested in return.
“Well, of course I love them! You made them!” she would giggle as she carried a tray out to the display counter. She loved to hand them out to the customers. Regulars would bring their children and she would get the biggest kick out of the wide-eyed reactions as they were handed a fresh donut encased in a thin wax paper square. The tots would poke out their tiny pink tongues and touch the soft icing, testing to see if they liked the flavor. A big smile would light up their face and a big lick across the top would follow. They always licked before they bit! This was always a happy day in the store. With all the comings and goings, Helen would forever end her good-bye with the phrase “Ok! Bye! See you ‘round, like a donut!”
Robert grabbed his hat as he reached for the doorknob to the kitchen side door. Before leaving he paused, kissed his finger tips and gently placed them on the glass of the hanging picture of his late wife. “Love you. See you ‘round, like a donut.” He closed the door softly and stepped into the cool morning air.
The above is a piece of fiction that is included in this week’s prompt for the Red Writing Hood. We were to write a piece, fiction or non-fiction, inspired by the delicious photo above. Word limit is 600. I was a tad over 600…
Constructive Critisism (Concrit) is always welcome. Thank you!