Archive for May 25th, 2011

25th May
2011
written by amber

Ritual

For years it was innocuous.  It seemed normal. If she was a little inflexible about it, it was because she’d learned that her day went better if she followed her morning ritual. Get up, wash and dress in loose comfortable clothing, shake out her yoga mat and do some stretches, eat a light breakfast, change into work clothing and go to the office.

Over the years, she developed some preferences. Loose shirts worn for yoga were annoying when she did inversions.  She bought a shirt, stretchy and breathable, from a local hemp store, but it was very expensive. She could only afford one, and she wasn’t happy when it was in the wash and she had to wear something else. Sometimes she’d just skip yoga if she couldn’t wear her favourite shirt.

She developed a fondness for Earl Grey tea, followed by a particular fondness for a loose leaf Earl Grey ordered on line, coupled with a preference for a high fat yogurt from an organic grocery store on the other side of town. She was a person with refined tastes, she told herself, but at work, her stomach rumbling, she didn’t confess that she’d gone without breakfast because the organic grocery store closed for two weeks for renovations. Her co-workers wouldn’t have understood that she’d rather eat nothing than eat the wrong yogurt. At lunch, she could eat anything, drink anything. Morning was for perfection, otherwise the entire day was jinxed.

Her tea cups were old, antique, she had only two left, and one had a chip. She found herself thinking of it as ‘the devil cup.’ If she had company, she made sure they got the bad cup, not out of malice, but because she knew they were immune to its threat. She kept it at the back of the cupboard, yet one morning found it in her hand, full of tea which she had to immediately pour down the drain.

She tried to throw the cup away, but her hand was stayed just above the bin by a force she could not identify. Was it the devil cup itself, or her fear of it?

On the bus to work that day, she wondered if she needed help to break out of her ritual, if it was too constricting, too obsessive.  But by the time she arrived at her stop, she’d decided to put the devil cup into a box in her storage room and look for an identical china set on line.

The Story 365 project is a year-long marathon of short story writing, with a new story posted every day on this website from May 1, 2011 – April 30, 2012.  Stories must be a minimum of 200 words.  Please help me by adding first line suggestions in the Comment section.

This story was triggered by a suggestion from StoryADay.org which is a website devoted to encouraging writers to produce a story a day for the month of May.