He woke up puzzled. Lying in the dark blinking several times trying to make out objects in his room, the warmth of his bed was peaceful. He smiled lightly thinking he had nowhere to go today, so he could just lay in bed and let the day pass away. But a moment later he was up and tightening his heavy woollen robe belt. He still had it after so many years, his grandmother gave it to him as a gift for just being her grandson. It was gifts like that which he appreciated the most. It was funny but he never got a pair of slippers to go with the robe. But he never bothered with that, the wooden floor on his bare feet and the area rug in the hall felt great between his toes. A hand combed his hair back as he yawned and almost lost his balance. Several feet before he got to the stairs that wound down to the living room he took a long stride as not to wake Odif, his dog. His wife gave it to him as an engagement present and he bought her a necklace and locket in the shape of a heart. That’s how it worked, if one gave to the other than the other out of love would return it. He felt a ring wasn’t original and creative, so he baked a cake with the necklace and locket inside it. Funny thing was, she would still find bits of cake in small crevices.

As he came into the living room and turned on the lamp beside the mantle, the dog also crept downstairs. His golden hair newly groomed shined brilliantly from the light of the lamp.

It was still dark as he proceeded to the kitchen, the cold tile making his toes curl. After a yawn hit his mouth, he began to get some hot chocolate made. Usually he would microwave the water and add the powder but this morning he was going to boil it in a pot. As the stove clicked to warm up, Odif came in for some attention.

“Hey buddy.” he said stroking the back of Odif’s ear and continued to pat his head and the rest of his body.

With real marshmallows at the bottom of the mug he poured the powder and the hot water, mixed it and stood at the entrance from the kitchen to the living room. Bringing the mug to his lips he felt the heat and decided on not taking a sip and just felt the steam hit his face in warmth.

A sigh escaped his lips and he cupped the mug with his hands, exchanging fingers quickly feeling how hot the mug was. He walked to the middle of the livingroom and stood there perplexed, wondering when was the last time he stood on that very same spot at this very same time of day, which was quickly coming. It was two months ago, the morning after they had moved in. There was no furniture in the house except their bed, a rocking chair and an area rug which he was standing on right now. He glanced over at the mantle and smiled at the picture of his wife from the trip they had taken to Switzerland for their honeymoon. It was the greatest time they ever had. They had planned it from when they first were dating. They fell in love so much with the cabin, bear rug and fireplace that they never went out except to eat and maybe take a few pictures like the one he was holding now. He was so happy and in love. He would never do it all over again. He wouldn’t want to forget the memories.

His attention was averted to the sliding doors of the veranda where Odif was keen on searching out some kind of morning disturbance.

“What’s out there boy?” he asked moving towards the doors. He stood there peering out into the dark dawned sky listening. Odif let out a short quiet wine so he slid the door open. The dog scrambled outside pressing his face on the rails with ears at attention.

After awhile he also stepped out onto the veranda and breathed in some fresh air. An orange glow seemed to be growing on the horizon, half the sky was starlit the other half was a dark blue, there was no moon to be seen. Birds chirped and a few yards away a dog barked. Odif began to growl.

“Shhhh, quiet Odif.” he said with command. The dog seized the growling. Remembering the hot chocolate he now put his lips to the mug and sipped a warm mouthful. Feeling it slide down his throat, everything seemed to stop, he felt her arms wrap around his chest and her head rest between his shoulder blades. She let out a moan and squeezed her hug tighter. She was warm.

“Good Morning.” she said softly.

“Morning.” he replied just as soft.

And now the day had truly begun.