She steps through the patio doorway, quietly sliding the door closed behind her, and slowly walks across the cedar deck, squinting at the morning sun as it forces its way over the horizon, gradually warming the micro-fleece, Navajo blanket wrapped snugly about her shoulders.
She sits down on the cedar steps and breathes in the morning deeply as she gazes out over the calm, glassy lake, remnants of fog still clinging motionless along its reed-strewn shore. Its only blemish — the rippling rings of one solitary paddling duck.
She hears a far-away splash. Then an unseen crow calls out from the treetops, and somewhere, a distant echo answers back.
Her nose and fingertips grow cold, yet her palms are deliciously warm as she cups an overly-large mug with both hands. The tea is a fragrant chamomile with a hint of sweet vanilla. She watches with a meditative stillness as the scented steam meanders lazily upward through shallow, golden rays.
Transfixed, she basks sleepily in that feeling of newness; a sense of innocent, hopeful potential that flows out of the peaceful, morning stillness. This is her favorite time, a time to be alone with herself, a fresh and soothing privacy where she can gather her strength. She notices that the leaves are just beginning to turn, and finds herself looking forward to the fullness of fall.
What then, but a soft, crispy breeze, hinting of apples and autumn hues, should briefly blow across her face, delicately rearranging wisps of hair. She closes her eyes and welcomes it, juxtaposed against the warm sensation of the early-morning light, like a cool hand tenderly, lovingly caressing her sun-kissed cheek.
And in that carefree, peaceful moment she is gently reminded of something. Something faint yet familiar is lightly tugging at her heart, a vague and pleasant stirring far off in the mist of her mind, a tiny whisper from abandoned memories long hidden behind a faded, locked door.
Then, all at once she realizes that what she is reminded of — is the best of him. And finally, for one pure, brief, unguarded instant — she misses him — the way that he misses her.