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  • Beatrice Iker

Micro Story #6: The Pastel Cottage

Updated: May 6, 2022

You live in an apartment in the city, with ceilings too tall and too cold to ever touch. The kitchen is open to the living room which is open to the dining room.

You’re so high above the street there, people on the ground begin to seem like characters in a movie. Like people whose lives are either imaginary or so vaguely real, the distance absolves you of their problems.

But today, you aren’t in your apartment. You’re on a summer vacation to the countryside.

The cottage you’ve rented is on the ground. It’s so painfully on the ground that you’re constantly reminded by things like trees in your line of sight and a family of blue jays living on your porch.

The porch is your favorite spot. The wind carries in pine needles, each - it seems - with the urge to spill their scent everywhere.

The chairs are real wood that isn’t painted in unusual colors. There’s no scene of a beach or a flower on them. Their simplicity surprises you. Do people not like scenes on chairs anymore?

You remember from childhood plastic threaded chairs people carried around with them. There was always something on the stretchy, hot material. Sometimes it was a scene from a movie. Sometimes it was the name of a company. And sometimes it was roses, lilies, or sunflowers.

There are flowers in the cottage kitchen. They greeted you when you arrived the other day, freshly picked from the garden.

You wonder whose job it was to pick the flowers. Was it the owners of the cottage? A gardener? Either way, they smell like damp soil with a twinge of sweetness.

Their petals are gently orange. Not the kind of orange used in traffic cones. No, this is the type of orange that swirls with the blush and lavender watercolors of sunset. This is the type of orange that slowly, achingly dulls on the skins of dying leaves in the autumn.

You love this orange.

The flowers match the pastel orange loveseat you sink into every morning with your tea. But you don’t think of the color when the hot mug is in your hands. As you sip the cooling liquid, all you think about is the sweetness it washes over your tongue and the warmth it blossoms in your chest.

There’s something sacred about moments like this.

The muscles in your thighs and the ones in your back and shoulders relax without you telling them to. They, too, understand this is hallowed ground. This is a fixed time you will return to in your mind over and over again.

You will remember this when you’re looking down from your apartment in the sky.

I also read this story on my podcast, which can be found by the podcast tab right here in my blog

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