Katina woke early that morning. She savored the warmth of the quilt for she knew the wood floors would be very cold. The white lace curtains danced in the gentle breeze, letting the sun play a little game of peek-a-boo. Even though the days were becoming more frigid with every setting sun, Katina could not stand a room without fresh, crisp air. She lifted her arms out above the covers and stretched them high over her head. Swinging her legs gracefully over the side of the bed, she draped a bathrobe over her shoulders. Slipping on her fuzzy pink slippers out from under the bed Katina stood up and walked towards her small closet next to her bed. She decided on a soft tee shirt and a warm sweater along with her thick leggings. She allowed the bathrobe to slide off of her shoulders and tumble towards the cold hard wooden floors. As she walked out into the hall, still pulling on her sweater, she stopped to rub the lingering sleep out of her eyes and felt the warmth of the sun through a crack between the still dancing curtains. She stopped to enjoy the warmth on her freckled cheeks, let her hazel eyes close in delight. Almost every morning, she got up at this time, and almost every morning, she stopped to enjoy this feeling of warmth on her face.
Katina shuffled into the kitchen and pored herself a cup of coffee. She opened the old microwave and slid the red mug onto the tray stained with numerous coffee spills from years passed. From many tired mornings of coffee drinking, an attempt to restore some of those lost hours of sleep at night. She pulled out an old beat up chair from under the table, and it made a scratching sound as it dragged across the evenly beat up and old floors. She sat down at her circular table meant for two but currently seating one. Katina mindlessly rubbed her hands together as she stared out the window into the fields of golden wheat stretching far out onto the landscape and meeting their end at the mouth of a looming forest in the distance. The wheat danced along with the curtains, danced to the steady beat of the unforgiving mouthful of wind. Shining a brilliant golden hue, the wheat was a plate of gold, dropped from above and broken into one million pieces of gold, shattered across a vast landscape. Through the dark clouds in the sky, the sun peeked out, desperate for a little attention. Those skies were a promising sign of snow, or even rain. From the direction of the microwave came a sharp ping sound. This was Katina’s warning that if she didn’t get up soon, she would start her day off the way no one wants to start their day, with a cup of cold coffee. Running her chair across the scraped up floors, she walked over to the microwave and popped open the yellow door by pressing one of the many buttons. She took the cup of steaming coffee in her hands and lifted it to her nose. Taking a deep breath in, the bitter, nutty, almost chocolate like smell filled her senses.
Katina walked over to her old piano inherited from many generation’s pasts while tapping her fingers on the warm mug. As she tapped and strummed out piano notes on her mug, her ring made a soft sound against the clay mug she had crafted herself, like wind chimes on a breezy day such as this. She sat down at the piano bench, sliding slightly back and forth on the slippery finished surface. Placing her hands above the cold keys, she wiggled her long, ringed fingers to prepare them for the fast movements of piano playing. She thought of placing her still steaming cup of coffee on top of the piano, but realizing it was covered in dust, she decided against it. She noticed her old piano book from when she was young, took it down from the top of the piano and blew off the accumulated dust. The corner of her mouth lifted in a slight smile. She smiled in remembrance of all those frustrating mornings spent with her mother in this exact seat, at this exact piano, and in this house. Her mother now lived in care, she was old, and Katina was young. Every month, she would go and pay her dear mother a visit. In that time, many kisses and hugs and warm smiles were exchanged, and then it would be time for Katina to leave. She decided to play one of her mother’s favorite songs on the piano. She set her steaming mug of coffee beside her on the stool and again placed her hands on the cold black and white keys. Like a photograph without color, the piano waited to be played, waited to have its keys pressed and warmed. Katina began slowly chiming out the notes of the song. Slowly the song sped up, until her hands were gliding over the keys, then flying over them. The room was filled with the smell of fresh coffee and the sweet sound of piano keys being struck. Ending her mother’s song in a long, deep, dramatic note, she looked up at the mirror above the piano and saw in it a young version of her mother. She smiled, a wide joyful smile, than looked back down and continued to play.
Alaina Bonis '21