Etty sat at the kitchen counter, chin in her hands, and watched her husband cook a late breakfast. She couldn’t take her eyes off his hands, except to watch the expressions on his face from time to time. John’s focus was complete; the kind of thing she’d only seen when her father turned his attention to building things.
“John, may speak to you while you work?”
He spared a loving glance for her, and smiled. It was almost a shy smile, and charmingly incongruous on the face of such a strong man.
“Of course you can. Always.”
“The fire you are cooking with isn’t from wood. Where does it come from?”
Her beloved chef froze, spatula in hand. He took the frying pan off the fire, and turned down the flame of his gas stove. When he turned to look at her, she could see comments and questions flitting back and forth inside his head.
“You and your family cook over an open flame?” He asked.
“Yes. There’s always a fire in the hearth.”
His blissful sigh surprised her.
“Okay. That sounds like heaven to me.” Another smile stole across his lips. “My stove is fueled by gas, not wood, or electricity.”
“Oh! That’s a stove, then?” She leaned forward to get a better look. “I’ve watched human families in their homes, but I’ve never learned what words go with which objects.”
“I guess we’ll have a lot of moments like these.” John chuckled.
“Probably!” She laughed, and it was musical, but not cloying or high-pitched enough to be painful to listen to.
“So, I bet you haven’t watched much television, or surfed the web. Have you?”
Etty sat up straight on the stool, with a puzzled expression. She tried to express herself once or twice, but full sentences wouldn’t form.
“John,” she said as she shook her head, “I understand surfing water, but unless you have enormous spiders, the webs won’t support the weight of human beings!”
“Ah, it isn’t huge spider webs. We can talk about that after breakfast.” He could see the gap in her education about the human realm, and it was a big one. “Would you like coffee, tea, juice, or water with your omelet?”
Her imagination was stuck in images of people trying to negotiate giant spider webs, but his question made it through the chaos. She’d never had coffee or tea, but she knew how well humans liked them, and answered that she’d like to try coffee.
“Try it?” John asked her.
“Yes. I’ve never had coffee or tea. People seem to be very passionate about them, though.”
John allowed himself to imagine his perky bride, supercharged by caffeine. It gave him a certain… pause.
“Let’s not push things too hard. I’ve got oranges in the refrigerator. We’ll have juice!”