Signs (Pt. 4)

The alarm goes off at 5:40. He turns over on the couch and turns it off. He pulls his feet under the blanket and closes his eyes.

She comes down at 6:00 and boils water. The kettle whines.

“Want some tea?”

“Please,” he says, putting on his glasses.

“What kind?”

“What are you having?”


“I’ll have that too.”

The blanket slides off. He leans back into the couch.

She brings a cup filled with darkening water. He loops the string of the tea bag around his finger and winds it around the handle. The warmth of the cup steeps his fingers. The tea dimples under his breath.

He offers to make eggs—the only thing he can make.

“We can pick up something on the way, if you don’t mind.”

“I don’t mind.”

“Grab some books.”

He sets his cup on the table and walks to the bookcase. He begins at the top, reading the titles, pulling one out here then slipping it back. Most are paperbacks, and almost all of them are creased deep along their spines. He collects a few and tosses them on the couch. Then he moves to the bookshelf on the other side.

“Borges or Calvino?” he asks.

“Hm. Borges.”

She pulls the blinds. It’s still dark, but he can hear the rain on the road.

She stuffs the books into her backpack. He pulls his sweater over his shirt and grabs his jacket and puts that on too.

They hurry to the car and dump their things in the backseat before sitting up front. He rubs his hands. She starts the engine and turns the heater on. The frost dies on the window. After a minute, she pulls onto the street, and he opens the book as the wipers smear rain back and forth across the glass.