Fall has found its footing. Kassandra wakes up early enough to see the sun rise. She remembers high summer when it seemed she went to bed and rose in ever-present daylight. Now, she wakes as the deep darkness of night gives way to shreds of sunrise. She knows it will not be long until she spends most of her day in some level of darkness. And not long after that, the winter solstice will mark the longest night; not long after that, she will look out her window one evening and realize the sun has not set yet.
And so it goes, for those who live in temperate zones: a repeating cycle of light and dark, by day, week, month, and year.
Kassandra pads to her little kitchen, makes herself a cup of strong English breakfast tea. For a barista, she is oddly averse to drinking coffee immediately after rising. First tea, then a mid-morning espresso, then lots of water. That’s been her recipe for years now.
“But change is in the air,” she says out loud to no one but herself. David spent the night at home with Penny; sometimes, now, Kassandra stays with them. More often, she comes back to her place. They are feeling out their balance of togetherness and separateness, with a gentle patience that surprises them both. Neither has been this way in relationship before. It delights them that they can be this way now.
The tea smells rich and a little smoky. Kassandra sips it while curled up in her favorite chair, looking out her window on the street below. Trees are now touched with red, gold, and orange. A block away, one large maple has already gone completely crimson.
“When did that happen?” Kassandra asks, as a touch of panic rises, makes her dizzy, passes.
When did it all happen? It is always happening, she realizes. That’s what makes it so hard to see.