Examinations Pt. 03byowengreybeard©
I awoke to a soft chiming near the head of the bed. I tracked the pleasant sound to a pyramidal alarm clock on a bedside table. A wave of my hand silenced it, and I made a mental note to get one. It was definitely preferable to the over-happy DJ voices on my clock radio. Drifting into the room was the wonderful smell of cooking. Shelly was gone, but there was a lovely silk dressing gown on the bed, as well as my leg and my shoe from yesterday. The three inch heel seemed a bit much for morning, but since my peg was set up for that length heel, I had a decision to make, wear the heel and the peg, hop, or use the peg with a three inch difference in leg length, resulting in a severe limp. I put the peg and the shoe at the foot of the bed. I made my way up the stairs one at a time, and hopped into the kitchen.
A willowy blonde woman stood at the stove. She looked as if she had just walked off the boat from Sweden, pale flawless skin showing from the sleeves of her Chef's jacket. Her face was angular with a slight under bite. She smiled brightly and waved silently to me, then beckoned me over to her side. She crooked her finger as I hopped to her side, and guided her face to my left ear. Her lips touched my ear, a vaguely intimate touch from a stranger. A voice, if you could call it that, entered my ear, so softly that my own breathing seemed to overwhelm it. I understood the faintly spoken, somehow liquid-sounding, words, but there was no breath at my ear.
"Welcome. My name is Bryn. I cannot speak any louder than this, but my hearing is fine, and I can make myself understood without words most of the time. Do you know ASL?"
"I don't, but I can learn; and I am Kate," I replied.
She clapped her hands in obvious happiness, went to the sink and washed them, then mouthed, "Hello Kate. Coffee?" pointing at the machine.
"Oh yeah, that's what I'm talking about!" I said excitedly. Bryn laughed silently, and went back to her cooking.
Shelly crutched into the kitchen, cute as a button in a VS 'Pink Jogging suit, the band of the pants rolled down to reveal her hips and the dimples on her rear, if you looked just right. The hoody was zipped about halfway down, revealing her cleavage where the valley started out to form the underside of her globes. It was a nice outfit on her, especially topped with her wide grin.
"What's cookin' Bryny?" she asked cheerfully. Bryn turned with a smile and began a series of astonishingly fast hand motions, which I recognized as American Sign Language, but that's about all I recognized of it.
"Awesome! Swedish toast and turkey sausage!"
"Swedish toast?" I asked. Bryn crooked her finger and I hooped over and snuggled her face into my shoulder, then said "Like French Toast, only it's nicer, sexier and doesn't smell bad. Like the French." I snorted into my hand and slapped her on the arm.
"I like our little conversations, Bryn. We are going to get along fine, just fine"
She nodded and motioned for us to go to the table.
"Sit and eat with us, Bryny? Please?" Bryn nodded and brought another plate setting to the dining room.
The dining table was close to 20 feet long, and made of a deeply colored wood I did not recognize. On closer inspection, it appeared to be hand carved. On much closer inspection, it was a breathtaking piece of work. I said so and Shelly answered, It's Bog Oak. It fell into a peat bog in Japan about a thousand years ago. There is no finish on the wood; it's impregnated with resins from the bog. My Daddy had it made when he was in Japan. The rest of it is in the office as a desk."
Breakfast was delectable, each simple part contributing to the whole, from the coffee Bryn had selected, to the mango-orange juice she'd blended herself. I was watching the interaction of Shelly and Bryn; there was more than an employee-employer dynamic at work for sure.
Moments after they made a curious sort of eye contact, I noticed a whole sausage disappear into Bryn's mouth. Almost immediately, she got a panicked look on her face, stood up and looked at me, grasping her throat and gagging. I decided to play along with their game.
"Shelly, she's choking! Call 911!" I yelled.
I rushed to the Bryn's side and whispered, "Give it here, you faker." The panic left her eyes, and I covered her mouth lightly with my own. The unchewed sausage slid into my mouth, and I bit it in half as slid a half back into Bryn's mouth. I chewed, swallowed, and then slid Bryn's scarf aside and placed my mouth on the nickel-sized hole at the base of her throat. I exhaled into it, and then inhaled. I stood up, not missing the fact that her eyes had closed and there was a smile on her face as she chewed her half of the sausage and swallowed. I reached behind me and grabbed another sausage in my fingers. "Close your eyes, Bryn." She did. I held the sausage near her nose, put my mouth on hers and inhaled. My eyes were looking at hers when they snapped open. Her hands grabbed my shoulders and she sat in her chair, nearly pulling me on top of her. Her face held amazement and joy, cemented together with tears. The air hissed out of her stoma as she laughed. Her hands flew like birds, and I heard Shelly whisper, "My God. I never thought about her ability to smell. How awful for a chef. She says she can't believe she didn't think of it before; she's been like this for four years."
"So here's what we do," I said, looking at Bryn. "We go to the hardware store and get a piece of vinyl tubing. When you want to give a sniff to something, you put it in your mouth and hold it to your stoma, inhale and 'Bam', you have smell."
She clapped her hands in glee, stood and enveloped me in a hug. "Or I keep you captive so you can do it with one of those kisses," she said.
"I think I'm already a willing captive, Bryn. You won't have to go far to get a kiss."
"As for you Missy!" I wheeled on Shelly, only to find her crying.
"What's wrong, Shelly?" I said, Bryn hurrying to my side.
"Nothings wrong, Kate. Everything's right, for the first time in years and years. First my parents find out about my amputee compulsion, and then they die. Then Bryn, my best friend in the world; the only person who gets me, has cancer and she almost dies. Then I go off the deep end and wind up in a loony bin."
"And then you. My God, and then you. You turned it all around, just by the power of your heart and the skill in your hands, the joy that you bring with you. What have I done to deserve you, either of you?"
We gathered together and shared a hug, and I felt the need to break the tension.
"Well, I appreciate you elevating me to Sainthood without the typical wait-for-her-to-be-dead thing, but I'm gonna fall off the pedestal if I don't get some more coffee soon."