The Morning Ritual

The Morning Ritual
By
Giulio Russo

There he sat at the kitchen island, newspaper laid neatly out before him. The Arts section folded into a more manageable piece in his left hand, a warm cup of freshly brewed coffee in the other. He grinned slightly, sighting a gallery opening that he would like to attend, mulling over the coming day in the quiet of early morning, the sunshine glinting warmly through the living room windows.

Eric Murphy’s apartment was tidily put together with a sense of perfect order, and intellectual pride.  His living room hand-built bookshelves that spanned across the walls with a contemporary style, filled with innumerable volumes meant to stimulate the imagination and mind. In the middle of this room, were several pieces of furniture in which Eric would use to entertain both himself, as well as company; an oblong coffee table, scattered with a few literary and pop art magazines, a plush blue chair, where he would spend hours just reading and thinking, and a matching sofa and loveseat, for when his friends would come by for gatherings, discussions, and arguments, all of which he enjoyed. Eric’s kitchen was clean, almost to a hospital comparison, with matching blue appliances, and no need for a table, as the island was big enough to seat five. Everything had its place in Eric’s home.

Sitting at Eric’s table, he took a large, enjoyable slurp of his coffee, the sound almost echoing, as if the apartment detested the sound. A grin still stuck on his face as he shifted through the pages.
“I wonder if Catherine is going to be at tonight’s opening?” he asked rhetorically, just breaking the early morning silence. “It would be nice to see her again,” he continued in the same manner, merely speaking to himself.

He sighed contentedly, stretching a bit. Eric’s chair creaking a bit from the shifting weight, before he settled again, switching from Arts, onward to business.

“The DOW is down… AGAIN!” he exclaimed, seemingly to himself, as he grinned, just enjoying some internal critique of society, as he slurped subtly at the coffee. “And people are blaming so many of the wrong sources for this economic crisis…”

Having quickly gotten bored with reading up on stock quotes and faulty financial predictions, set it down in what has now become a folded pile of arts and business, now picking up the classifieds. He usually did this simply to play Editor to the many grammatical errors, pumping up his ego for the day. He snickered lowly as he read aloud.

“’Sngl male look hwt wmn 4 playdate.’ How despicable, how some people are allowed to put pen to any of their thoughts is shameful. Why can’t they take the time to learn the English language before they sacrilegiously decimate it?”

He finished the last bit of his coffee, putting the classified adverts away. He stood, Eric’s chair squeaking lowly against the floor tile, making a lonely noise in the quiet apartment. He picked up the obituaries section as he made his way to the coffee pot, still sputtering on the counter.

This was his favorite part of the newspaper. He would do this only once a week, and enjoy the obituaries over his favorite blend of coffee. Not for the reasons one would think; not the morbid sense that someone has been forced from this mortal coil, but for how well written they were. He would find them almost poetic, thinking them the last bits of everyday literature. The writer, would take his time, interview those who knew the departed best, and giving them a beautiful last memory of their loved one.  As he poured himself a second cup of this lovely scented Italian roast, he began to read allowed the passage that would keep him chipper for almost the entirety of the day.

Rebecca Drevinovich, Born Dec. 14, 1980. Died Oct. 10, 2009. Rebecca, the proud owner of the popular Auraria-adjacent café and bookstore, The Erudite, was found on Saturday, her life ended so very prematurely. She was a great companion to her friends, and loving daughter to her parents, working hard to make them all proud, and still taking time to bend her ear towards anyone, whose voice seemed in need of help, or a new friend. She brought smiles to her customers, always making sure to suggest something they may enjoy, merely based on the expressions on their faces, and smiles were always returned as they seemed to take up those offers with the joy that she brought brightness to their day.
She will be missed, but always remembered.”

“Not exactly the best I’ve read, but I’ll definitely take it as a sign of good things to come,” He smirked, taking a long slurp of his coveted brew, setting  tossing the newspaper onto the counter top, before gathering up the rest of it and setting them together, so he may view them later. He took a few moments to clean up, Eric’s counters always needing to be clean, especially in the morning, as he enjoyed the way the sunlight glinted off of a freshly cleaned counter.

Now finding a lid for his travel mug, to further enjoy his coffee on the fly, he entered the living room, opening the curtains just slightly, to allow some of the morning light to showcase Eric’s apartment. The early morning glow illuminated the masterfully made bookshelves, filled with volumes of knowledge and insight, over the only unkempt area in the apartment; the oblong coffee table, with the slightly askew magazines on its top, the quaintly matched sofa and loveseat, which looked slightly pale at this time in the morning, and lastly, the plush reading chair, with Eric Murphy in the seat, a novel about Jack The Ripper neatly closed in his lap, his throat slit from one corner of his jaw, to the other, the blood darkened by now from drying out.

“You know,” He said, to the deceased Eric, as he walked towards the front door, “I think the writer at the newspaper really has a talent for showing the best of what people were.”

He sipped his coffee just a little loudly, opening the door, stopping in the entryway, before turning back to look at Eric, resting forever in that chair.
“I can’t wait to see what he writes about you Eric…” He grinned, turning, and closing the door behind him.

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