He loves his boiled egg, thinks Jane. She watches him tackle it.
Smooth, hot and hard white shell. He chips the top off with his spoon. He peels the top off, slowly, and presses in at the white stuff with the edge of his Mount Bulla ornamental spoon. Dianne gave them that. From when she went to the snow. Daughters travel much more these days.
Does it bounce enough for you, Brian, she thinks, that lovely little egg? He scoops off the white cap. Does it shimmer? Does it shine for you? Does it shake, just slightly, like a firm white jelly? Never too soft, never clear. He loves his boiled egg. In goes a sharp point of hot buttery toast, deep in, and pop! That thin, transparent skin around the yolk snaps. Into the yellow goes the buttery toast. He breaths through his nose when he eats his toast. Like a pig with a truffle. His toast goes in, yolk slides along it. It is perfect. A perfect egg.
I love a boiled egg myself, thinks Jane. Such a good way to start the day. Bad egg, bad day. You may as well just stay in bed if you get a bad egg in the morning. An overcooked egg, with its yolk so hard and powdery you have to spread it like paste on the toast. Don’t bother to get up. Except by then it’s all too late. Because you’re out of bed, to cook the egg. What a shame that is.
Brian makes the tea. He always makes it. It is his treat to Jane. Every morning he makes the tea. Strong and stewed and foul, just as she hates it, but what can you do? And he wouldn’t warm the cup to save them both. But it is her treat. She deserves as much.
They have a way of doing things, these two. Find things strange if things change. Like a building disappearing, or a tree losing itself in a storm. At breakfast, they each have the paper. They pick out the stories of change and worry a little, reading to each other this bit and that bit.
Dianne says it is such a waste to get two newspapers. Dianne says they could at least get two different papers, instead of two papers the same. But really, it’s not that much more money. Besides, Jane couldn’t bear to have that other paper in the house. Unless they must have it. They must have it sometimes. For the notices, when someone dies. Someone always seems be dying at the moment.
But some things they can keep. Some things can stay the same. It is comforting to have a routine. Dianne wants them to go to Noosa this year. “What about Noosa for Christmas this year? Mum? Dad?” she said, “Something different?” Brian looked at Jane, his eyes wide. “I don’t think your father could manage it.“, said Jane. “You can just fly up,” said Dianne. “I don’t think I could manage it.”, said Jane.
Dianne says, “Mum and dad should get out more. Now they’re both retired. They should make the most of things.” They don’t do much, really. There’s not that much to do. Everything is in order. When the, days are sweet and sunny, Brian loves to garden. He cuts down bucket loads of flowers, and Jane puts them all around the house in pots and bottles and vases. When it’s wet and cold, they share a jigsaw puzzle. They watch the footy on Saturday afternoons. Dianne says, “I think it’s such a waste. I think it’s such a shame. They’ve both got their super’. They should go around Australia in a caravan.”
Jane fishes her own egg out of the pot. She’s timed the cooking with the little clock on top of the fridge. The Egg Clock, they call it. The toast jumps out of the toaster, and Brian butters it up quick before it gets cold. He slices it into perfect fingers. “Here we are, love,” he says.
Jane sits at the table with a lovely sigh of content. She taps the top off her egg with her knife. Off pops the little white cap. There sits the egg, shimmering, white, soft yet firm.
“Perfect.”, she says.