As you step lightly down the stairs, you tie your dressing gown loosely around your body. The thick scent of fried eggs and richly buttered toast lured you from your slumber, and you walk into the kitchen hungry, groggy and with stumbling thoughts.
Your wife looks up at you as you walk across the room towards the kettle, but you barely glance at her as you mumble a good morning. The kettle is hot to the touch, so you use the water within to make a coffee, strong and black. The soothing, bitter fumes cut through the haze of your mind, and you feel your thoughts begin to take on more coherent shapes as you sip the hot, dark liquid.
You gaze around the kitchen to see if there is food prepared, or if your sustenance is your own responsibility this morning. Your eyes come to rest on a plate of fried eggs sat upon two slices of toast, set at the place opposite where your wife sits with the remnants of her own meal. Her cup of tea releases curls of warm steam into the cool morning air.
As you sit down at the table, you nod thanks to your wife. You pick up a slice of toast, the bright egg draped atop it in a lopsided fashion, and take a bite. The yolk bursts, delicious golden goo dribbling down your chin as you peer over the table to see what today’s newspaper holds.
You feel your wife’s eyes upon you as you read the headlines.
Financial difficulties in Europe; political scandals; rock stars drug habits; and a young woman strangled to death in this very town. Not far away from your home, in fact.
You swallow the last of your breakfast and stand up from the table. You pick up your wife’s empty plate as you pass her, and place it on top of your own in the sink. You run the tap until it is just a touch too hot to run your hand through it. You wash them without haste, gazing idly out of the window at your garden. You make a note to cut the lawn when the sun has warmed the day.
The bread-knife your wife used to prepare the toast cleans off quickly, and your grip on the handle is relaxed as you turn to face her. There is no fear in her knowing eyes as your fingertips find the familiar, faded bruises around her neck.
“I’m sorry, my dear. You simply know me too well.”