“Jazz,” I say. “Bossa nova is more typically considered elevator music.”
I clamp my eyes shut tight and cup my throbbing forehead with one hand. Every morning, and I mean every morning, I start the day some jazz. Of recent, it’s always been either a Bill Evans, Dexter Gordon, or Miles Davis record. Within the first few moments of my waking, I’ll reach over to my bedside table, place down the pin on one of my vinyls, and sit without a word for a few minutes before actively commencing my day. It’s a method I use to ease myself into the new day. For me, it’s almost like a bridge I cross each morning from a dreamy state to consciousness.
She’s sat on my bed with her back against the wall and her knees to her chest. I peer with one eye to the clock on the wall which reads a little before 9a.m. A glimmer of sunlight struggles its way through the slight parting of the curtains, and clings onto the carpet and the wall crosswise from the window.
She lets out an exaggerated sigh, lighting a cigarette.
“You want something to eat?”
“What do you have?”
“I don’t know. Eggs, toast, waffles, cereal, oats.” She says nothing to these suggestions.
“There’s also sweet potato. That’s what I’m havin’.” I tell her, looking to her.
She exhales before saying, “How about I prepare us some french toast and you make us sweet potatoes? Done. You’ve got coffee, right?”
“Sweet potato, french toast and coffee. That’s a bit of a weird breakfast compilation, don’t you think?”
“So? Most recipes are somewhat strange in their own way, if you reeaally think about it. Even just common cereal is weird.”
She pauses briefly and blows smoke towards the ceiling. “Think about it. You add cow’s milk to it. Like, who even said it was okay to drink cow’s milk in the first place? Surely it’s meant for calves, not humans. Yet we take it with almost everything. That’s strange, no? Why don’t we drink horse’s milk. Or, say, elephant’s milk.”
She had a point. I’d never thought about it in anywhere close to that much depth before. I let another 5 or so minutes pass before actually getting up to go to the kitchen.
She strolls into the kitchen with nothing on but underwear and one of my T-shirts. She passes a transient comment about the shirt as she ties her hair up into a no-less-than-sleek ponytail. I’m leant up against the counter with a chilled glass of water by my side while the sweet potatoes boil on mellow heat.
She walks up to me and presses her lips against mine, then stares unwaveringly into my eyes, arms slung loosely around my neck.
“Have a cigarette for now. You’ll be fine once something settles in your belly.”
Without a word, I do as she says. She always knows when something’s on my mind. In the same kind of manner a clairvoyant reads palms, she gazes intently into the very back of my idle eyes. And she reads. What she reads, I don’t know. I’ve never known and it’s likely that I never will.
But the simple fact she can tell gives me some degree of comfort.