At the cottage

The clock has just turned over. It’s midnight; the first stroke of a new day. I’m still winding down after an eventful few days at work.

Yesterday I escaped for half an hour, bought myself a chai latte and took it to the garden on the fifth floor. There, in a pocket of solitude, I closed my eyes and listened.

Soon, the sounds of traffic became distant, and the wind rippling through the trees became the steady whisper of a sudden downpour. And before I knew it I was at Sweet Briar Cottage, standing in the chocolate box doorway watching the rain free falling straight from heaven. The cottage is surrounded by a canal; there are no roads, and the raindrops make perfect circles in the water. From my spot I can see a spiderweb in the roses, bejeweled. My small rowboat bumps gently against its dock.

My hands are wrapped around a mug of hot chocolate with whipped cream. It’s rich on my tongue and warms me inside. The smell of hot bread rushes up my nose. I leave my spot and go inside to the oven, pulling out a freshly baked loaf. I burn my fingers cutting it, but I can’t wait. It’s steaming. The butter melts like the polar icecaps.

Music plays softly in the lounge; almost drowned out by the rain on the roof. I take a couple of slices of bread and my hot chocolate, swapping the music for a Christmas movie.

*****

When I open my eyes in the garden at work the sun has slipped a little lower down the sky and the cars are beginning glow with headlights. The wind whips through my hair. I take some deep breaths, in, out, and go back into the chaos.

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