When I close my eyes, I’m home

I woke up this morning and I was back in paris. I rolled out of my fluffy white twin-sized bed, the apartment deserted and silent.

“We are at the market.

– Paul and Cecile”

I rubbed the sleep out of my eyes and padded barefoot into the narrow kitchen. The coffee pot sat bubbling quietly in the corner, a porcelain cup resting patiently beside it.

I poured the dark liquid gold into the cup, polished clean by the careful and steady hands of my French mother. I held the cup close to my face and breathed in the small puffs of steam rising from the cup. I dropped two sugar cubes into the cup.

Plink, plink

I stirred the cup for a moment, my eyelashes fluttering upward as something moved out of the corner of my eye.

A couple stood on the balcony across the street, raised just a touch higher than this apartment. The man wore wrinkled clothing that he had slept in, leaning backwards against the railing, his face turned to the left. A woman turned towards him, the sleeves pushed up neatly on the oversized button down she’s wearing. She rests her weight against her elbows and her hair long blonde hair catches slightly in the morning wind.

They say nothing while the man takes long and slow deliberate drags from a hand rolled cigarette. For a moment, they lock eye contact and start nodding, slowly.

I take a sip of coffee.

My gaze wanders to a lower apartment level, a paunchy middle aged man cooking in just his boxers. I see the tops of children’s heads racing round and round the kitchen, shrouded slightly by the leafy fronds of potted plants put up in an attempt at providing privacy. He leans to kiss an equally scantily dressed woman and they feel each other smiles on their faces.

After a while, I look down at the remaining dregs of coffee. I tilt the cup this way and that, noticing bits of sugar gathering at the bottom.

I place the cup back onto the matching saucer, lining up the tulip motifs and wiping the drops of coffee from the counter with my sleeve.

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