water drips down the side of the tea kettle as it fills under the tap, making a quick hissing sound as it’s placed on the stove-top to boil. the condensation forms fast, tiny water drops spilling over and slicing ribbons through the sheen of water.
in the next room, she’s talking. she hisses an emphasis on the letter s, draws out her words carelessly – as if enunciating for an audience that isn’t paying attention. if i unfocus my eyes and tune out her words, focus on the sound of the traffic coming from the road outside my kitchen window, i could almost imagine that her words are steam rising into the air, hanging there, twisting sibilantly for a minute and then evaporating.
i return to the lounge, cups and tea accessories in hand, watching as she talks. i’m only taking in every fifth word, but it doesn’t seem to matter when she’s in full flow like this; not quite indignant, but there’s clearly something on her mind. as she talks she coils herself, slides neatly from one position to the next, bringing to mind a snake curled up in the sun.
the kettle shrieks as water reaches the boiling point and i retrieve it, hearing more water spatter on the hot element as i do so, a cacophony of short sharp hisses rising from the metal and tiny threads of steam rising. beyond the door, i can hear her talking still, can picture the hissing of her voice as a blade slicing words apart so they can be inspected, studied and learned.
the next time i’m watching her she weaves a story from thin air – she does this a lot, and i get caught up in what she’s saying. i won’t remember this story five hours from now, but it will sink in subliminally, slowly over the next night. come next week, i won’t be able to stop picking at the story and threading it back together, resewing it to form an even more coherent picture.
this happens more than i would care to admit.