Peter’s tired eyes resisted as he attempted to peel them open. Thursday. He sighed. The clock read 7:00 am. He sat up as his socked feet fell one at a time onto the floor. His long arms reached and met over his head. He arched his back and let out a loud yawn. Juliette must be in the kitchen already he thought. He got up to see.
When he got into the kitchen, there was Juliette. Already cooking. She normally made scrambled eggs with dry toast for breakfast. She used to butter the bread. But she didn’t anymore. Making their breakfast was a chore to for her. When they first married it was fun. Not just breakfast, but everything. It was bouquets of daisies on the broken table. It was surprises after work. It was kisses on the cheeks. It was buttered toast.
She didn’t acknowledge when he walked into the kitchen. It didn’t surprise him. She usually didn’t. He cleared his throat casually to see if she would turn around from the stove and light her sleepy face up with a wide, bright smile, like she used to. But she didn’t. He sighed.
“Good morning, Love,” Peter said. Juliette glanced over her shoulder and gave a sad, diluted smile. He cleared his throat again and shuffled over to the coffee pot. He grabbed a mug from the sink, the same one he used everyday, and dried it out with a towel.
It was blue. Not dark blue or cobalt but blue like the sky. Juliette’ favorite. They got matching mugs as a wedding gift. Except hers was orange, Peter’s favorite. The mugs had delicate engravings on the front that read PETER AND JULIETTE.
When they first married, these were their only mugs. In fact, they were the first things they put in their tiny, white house. The day they moved in, they each had their mugs in one hand and each other's hands in the other. They immediately went into the kitchen, opened a cabinet above the sink, and placed the mugs on the crooked shelf, side by side.
Now, Peter’s mug was the only one that got much use. Juliette’ just sat in the cabinet, now bursting with useless mugs showing off Peter’s trips to Germany and Peru. Peter brought his mug full of black coffee over to the kitchen table. He sat down.
“How did you sleep?” he asked her between sips of the dark, bitter drink.
“Alright,” she responded. She was plating the scrambled eggs.
“Should I get the butter from the fridge?” he asked. His mouth watered at the thought of melted butter on the warm toast.
“It’s not worth it. It’s cheap. Last of the loaf, too.”
Peter’s heart stung. He tried to keep them together, but he knew it couldn’t last much longer. She was losing hope. So was he. The eggs were undercooked. The coffee was cold. The toast was dry. Every bit of desire they had left to stay together was disappearing. It was cheap. It was the last of the loaf.