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pumpernickel

25 Aug

“What do you think about orange?” Emmeline shot a glance at her husband before getting back to picking a scab on her knuckle. “For the kitchen.”
“Orange? Since when do you like orange?”
The teapot whistled and Joseph turned off the stove.
“What do you mean? You know I like orange.”
“No. I know you like yellow and green and shades of blue.” He poured the boiling water into two mugs and slid a teabag toward Emmeline on the living room side of the countertop. “Green tea.”
“I used to like shades-of-blue,” Emmeline said, rushing through the words as though shades-of-blue was a color of its own. “But now, I think, I really love orange.” The tiny scab on her knuckle fell onto the tile countertop, and she mindlessly brushed it away.
“Orange is okay,” said Joseph. He sipped his tea. “Orange is fine.”
“Orange is fine?”
“Steep your tea, Emmy. It’s getting cold.”
“I don’t want orange if it’s only fine.” She slid the teabag back to Joseph. “Damn. I’m bleeding.” Where the scab on her knuckle had been, was a droplet of red.
“Emmy,” Joseph sighed. He ripped a corner off the roll of paper towels by the kitchen sink and lay it gently where the blood had accumulated. “Stop doing that.” He tilted his head and moved his mouth to the left side of his face where it rested in a position that hinted at disapproval. He reached for the loaf of day-old pumpernickel from the bakery down the street and tore off two small pieces. Emmy took the one she was offered and nibbled on the crust.
“White, then.”

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