She opened the book. Years of use had silenced the novel’s spine, but the pages still rustled dutifully. Books: the summer flu of moving. She’d settled down once, filled shelves, but that gap was just enough to forget the awfulness of carting and carrying adventures bound in paper.
First, more breakfast. After all, she thought, a decision doesn’t always demand action.
She swirled bits in her bowl as the milk turned an appetizing sugary beige. This morning food was the worst for anyone with an obsessive-compulsive tendency geared toward organization. Clusters of oats, flakes and granola unraveled into a whole-grain nightmare.
Hers was a normal routine, though, consisting of less mental disruption and more processed carbohydrate chaos. She dropped the spoon. Its double-tap rattled sunlight into her eyes for a flash and reminded her that the calendar had switched to June. She squinted at the window above the stairwell where the first rays squeezed into the frame.
A butterfly blew past, more like leaf.
Inspirationalists claim you can do anything if you try, but as a child, she’d strained to fly every day and never succeeded. Now she flapped her arms once at the memory, and her laughter leapt at the bare walls and absorbed into the boxes stacked around the place.
What could pass as the lost toy blocks of a giant toddler now held the past two years of her life. Familiarity had bred content for her here, yet sadness wasn’t among the sentiments nestled in bubble wrap or stuck lingering to stray packing tape.
As the cereal softened into soup, she twisted off a pen cap with her teeth and struck out in blue toward goodbye. The sullen color for a farewell was a choice of efficiency, not necessity. She’d packed her desk and its supplies days before.
“Thanks bunches,” she concluded, “of grapes, bananas, sunflowers or whichever plant you prefer. Cheers and well wishes. Mia.”
Several hours later, she locked the front door of a house empty but for a note written inside a book, stored safely from the sunlight on the highest shelf in the kitchen cupboard.
Dustin Renwick runs and writes in Washington, D.C., but he visits Door County every summer with his family. His lesson from the 2013 trip: a new appreciation for cherry wine.