Mail Order Groom

She kept her sugar in a creamer. That was the first thing he noticed. Her sugar bowl had a divot opposite the single handle that he felt sure was meant to be a spout. It was squat and round with a squat round lid, but it was, in fact, a creamer. The milk she poured from a more feminine pitcher, mismatched among the stoneware like a swan in a duck pond.

She made coffee with a quick and practiced efficiency that spoke of ritual.

Beans, spooned by touch into the well of the grinder. Grounds sniffed, her deep-set eyelids falling heavily, lashes fluttering in bliss on her cheeks. Water measured by the timbre of the splash in the coffee pot. She reached for the cups without looking, her gaze on a point in the yard outside. A garden, dew-scattered and glittering in the early sunshine.

Long, ugly burns marred the skin of her left fingers. He thought of the slim gold band he’d brought, wrapped up in his father’s navy pinstriped pocket square.

He looked around her kitchen, unsure where to begin, surprised to see a framed diploma from the culinary academy in the city bearing her name.

“You are a chef?” He hated the stiff, accented formality of his English.

She poured the coffee, keeping the chipped cup for herself. “Was. It was a long time ago. I don’t like to talk about it.”


For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Lance gave me this prompt: It was a long time ago and I don’t want to talk about it..

I gave Eric Storch this prompt: I don’t write anything. I only make drawings.

7 thoughts on “Mail Order Groom

  1. I love opening lines like this one. The way you use the details to show her certain ways and style are wonderful. It provides depth without loads of backstory. She’s particular for a reason and you want to know more.

    I like how you changed “want” to “like” in the prompt. It’s better. Now, I want to know how he’ll get her to talk about it.

  2. Well, that just makes me realize my tupperware ‘o sugar is too boring. And inexplicably reminds me that I need to buy sugar cubes instead of piling spoonfuls into my coffee . . . but I digress.

    What I particularly like about this little story is the title and the man’s discomfort with his formal speech. The moment of the coffee making shows her to us, but those details remind us there’s much more lurking beneath the surface.

  3. How cool! I love the role reversal here, and the reasons a woman might be looking for a mail order male (ahem) with hints of why he would be one. I love his first observation about her and their stilted, awkward conversation. SO cool.

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