Red light flooded her eyes as she slowly became conscious again. She opened her eyes a crack to see the sun streaming in the window on top of her as she lay on her bed. She luxuriated in its warmth and in the comfort of the duvet. But she had napped most of the afternoon away. Now it was time to get up.
She stretched her long limbs and yawned lazily. Finally, she opened her eyes fully and came back to reality. Her mouth felt dry; her tongue was pasted to the floor of her mouth. Her thirst now became the driving force, strong enough to propel her off the bed and into the kitchen.
She put some water in the kettle and leaned against the counter, waiting for it to boil. Right in front of her, sitting in the middle of the table, was the fruit bowl. A large orange was sitting on top of the pile of fruit, looking plump and juicy and inviting. She could almost taste the juice from it in her mouth just looking at it. Resistance was futile. She pounced on it, dug her nails into the thick skin and began to tear it off. The skin came off easily in large chunks. Inside, the segments were large and well-defined. They tasted sweet, with just a hint of orangey tartness, and were indeed dripping with juice. She had the whole fruit devoured within minutes.
She made her cup of tea and went in search of her mobile. There were a couple of text messages from friends saying they were meeting up at their favourite beer garden to make the most of the glorious sun. She showered quickly to freshen up after her nap, and put on some fancier clothes. At the back of her wardrobe lay her yellow sandals. They hadn’t been worn since the previous summer, but she reckoned it was time to drag them out again. Summer had arrived.
She slammed the front door closed behind her and walked down the street. Her footsteps echoed in the empty street, but it was bright out and she was glad of the chance to see her friends before the weekend ended. Their favourite beer garden was out the back of The Green Room, which fortunately was only a five-minute walk away from her house. It was big and spacious, and the smokers in their group always appreciated the garden; there were space heaters in cold weather and great tables for when the weather got warm, like today.
She was greeted by a cheer from the corner table when she walked in. It seemed some of her friends had been there for a while as there was already quite a collection of empty bottles and glasses on the table. She went over to say her hellos, but soon returned to the bar to get herself a drink. Inside, she stood at the bar, deliberating over what to get. The blue lights from the fridges stood out in the dim interior, and a cool, refreshing drink seemed like the right choice. She ordered a bottle of lager and re-emerged into the cheerful garden.
Eventually, all their gang arrived. It was a great evening; relaxed, fun, with everybody on form. Arun was boasting about his past sexual conquests, Jade told about her recent holiday in Malta, and Amber sat in the corner, sketching everyone in the beer garden. Her fingers ended up dyed indigo when her pen got walked on. She even ended up with a smear on her cheek. But that was her normal appearance: while some people had nicotine-stained fingers, Amber’s were always ink-stained.
They did not over-indulge though, as each had a week of work ahead of them in the morning. As dusk fell, they separated and wished each other well. By the time she got home, she was already yawning. She made herself another cup of tea and sat down to read her book for a while. When she looked up again, it was dark outside. She uncurled herself from the couch and crossed the room to close the blind. Outside, there was a full moon hanging in the violet night sky. Its light was so bright it almost rivaled the sun. She could not bring herself to shut out that beauty completely, so she fell asleep in a room silvered by moonlight.