A Perfect Morning

Another week of hard work and butterflies gone, and I am still immersed in an epic hack up of my novel. It is painful and overwhelming and inspiring and exhausting, but it is worth it, and in the end it will be wonderful.


We live in Stoker’s castle. We are dim and it is colder than we expected. Like a tomb or that place where they heap dead bodies and innocuously call a freezer.

I don’t want to spend another minute in there but he likes the sound of it. He thinks the dripping is evocative and strange, the architecture ornate and gothic, the floor tiles laid perfectly for such an early 13th century extravagance. 

I stare through the barred window and try to convince myself this isn’t a dungeon and this isn’t our tomb. 

I thirst for Sunday mornings, I crave the bouyance of a Wednesday afternoon. I want silence and exuberance, solitude and company, a flood of ideas and a quiet mind. I am a thousand scientific notions - Entropy, chaos, decay, dichotomy.

Sometimes before he wakes up, I sit outside and soak in the morning. The dog flops in the grass, his nose twitching, delighted at the intricate smells of a quiet day. The birds are all a titter, chittering graceful unglorified tunes without reason. Singing made up songs just to sing. Just for the joyful noise of it. 

He wakes and speaks as if nothing matters but the stench of his own words. 

Then it’s too hot, the dog licks his asshole uncomfortably, the skin on my forearms seethes as if they’re on fire. The birds squawk uncontrollably and I imagine our yard as a hellish paradise with no escape. A secret garden drowning in flame.

I think about that as I shiver, and watch him stare at the buttresses flying overhead. He and I are cowards stuck in the middle of the beginning of the end. The scars become us, don’t they? Like tiny little bandaids polka-dotting our cancered skin. 

This way.

He pulls me down another hallway away from the group. Ancient suits of armor are held up by god-knows-what and it’s all I can do not to poke them and see if they’ll just fall down. I follow him to a tapestry beyond a series of stanchions barely barricading the path.


I whisper, but I don’t really care. I’m just glad to get away from the stink of farts and belly burps that is a group tour in Europe. I walk past the same stone bricks we’ve stared at all morning and I wonder if scar tissue could ever get cancer. If in the end, maybe all we are is a mottled ball of them.

When he turns to me, I see it in his eyes. Then I taste it on his lips. And somehow, the hellfire and the frigid halls become one entire life. Somehow, as my heart beat slows, the stone brick hallway folds into our kiss. All of it lingers, and then slips away like a morning.


C. L. Brenton