He woke to the gray, the trickle of freezing rain; the birches cased in crystal–fragile, vulnerable, austere. The holly leaned with the weight–aching, arthritic branches enveloped in fog.
A morning for strong coffee. French-pressed, or perhaps an espresso. An omelet too, with Gruyere, prosciutto, maybe shallots. He’d work it off in the garden and chop wood in the afternoon for Margaux.
Joe Meeghan shivered as he watched the water drip from his eaves, then turned from his window to start breakfast. Margaux was shuffling about in the upstairs apartment. He knew the routine: bed to bathroom, bathroom to coffee pot, coffee pot to liquor cabinet and then back. A “livener” she called it. She would carry the scent of coffee and mint on her breath until noon when she’d switch to–hell, who knew? “A lady doesn’t tell,” she’d say. “A lady has her secrets.” Joe suspected it was either absinthe or malt liquor. She’d be shitfaced by four and Joe would stop up and put her to bed.