The sound of the kettle in the morning, whispering through the house,
muffled by the landing, stairs, hallway,
the kitchen door which creaks as it closes to allow him access to the cupboard behind it,
where the cat food lives,
another morning job ticked off as he waits for the boil.
The tinkle of glass in the dishwasher’s top drawer,
he’s finding my favourite mug,
the one with the poppies on, because he knows it tastes better out of that one.
It was used only yesterday,
and he stacked it into the top drawer as he loaded last night’s detritus
while I flopped into our bed, exhausted.
Soon, the stairs will grumble his ascent,
and he will smile,
kiss the top of my head,
wish me good morning,
ask if there’s anything else I need,
begin his day,
pausing his progress to make my second cup once the first is done with.
This is his hearts and flowers;
this is his impromptu dinner date,
a brand new satin dress from an expensive boutique
draped over the bed with note that reads,
“Table booked for 8, wear this x”;
this is his birthday surprise city break;
notes tucked under the pillow for me to find when he’s gone;
musky, floral perfumes in boxes of thick card from too-lit department stores;
this is a dozen overpriced red roses on Valentines Day.
The sound of the kettle in a morning –
magnified by days weeks months now years of repetition;
amplified by regularity,
elevated by reliability,
this is the sound of a thousand I love yous –
I pick up the cup and drink.