E is For

I woke to the sound of his voice softly calling: “Eeeee!” Wordlessly, I exited his room. Simon’s kiss tasted of coffee.

Two brown, speckled delights remained. His mother gave the eggs to him as he left his family farm. “Make Erica a nice breakfast,” Barb said, brandishing garden-plucked dahlias. “And bring her these.”

He fired the range and cracked a breathtaking shell—it was crisper, stronger, than those anemic grocery store eggs. Yolk the color of mandarins splatted into the sizzling pan, followed by viscous, transparent white. He popped sourdough into the toaster and, once browned, buttered generously.

I tiptoed to the stove, preventing contact with the cold linoleum. “Whoa!” I said. “Why are they so orange?”

He looked puzzled. “Have you never had fresh eggs before? That’s how they look.”

Most orange foods I knew were deeply artificial—Sunkist, Cheetos.

He served two plates, one egg and a hunk of sweet-smelling toast on each. I watched as he forked the yolk, catching saffron protein with bread, crunching into carbohydrate with relish. I mimicked his actions, wrapping the delicate rubber of the white onto the bread, tasting the salted yolk. I never knew eggs could taste like this.

He eyed me thoughtfully. “You didn’t eat much fresh food growing up, did you?”

“No,” I said, admitting most meals came from cans. Fresh eggs didn’t figure into Milwaukee food stamp budgets.

“Well, we need to visit the Floyd farm then,” he said. A flutter pit-patted in my heart. He invited me home.

I wanted to wake up this way daily, to this wholesome, handsome man, his uncomplicated morning personness. He was kind but no-nonsense and the first ever to bestow a nickname upon me.

Now, nine years later, we sit in our country kitchen, inhaling eggs and toast. “Go shower, E,” he says. “I’ll clean up.”

“E” is for: my name, those velvety orange yolks, their ability to kindle love in two near-strangers.

E. P. Floyd is an Assistant Editor of Flash Prose for Lunch Ticket and an MFA candidate in fiction at Antioch University Los Angeles. She has published journalism and creative nonfiction in several publications, including Businessweek, the Isthmus and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Floyd is at work on her first novel and a short story collection. She lives in rural Wisconsin with her husband, Simon, and umpteen houseplants.

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3 Responses to E is For

  1. Patty Schreurs says:

    Beautiful little short story Erica. Loved it!!!

  2. Jane Doe says:

    You went to private high school that cost thousands of dollars a year and grew up in one of the toniest suburbs of Milwaukee. You weren’t raised on canned food and SNAP benefits. Don’t appropriate urban poverty.

    • E.P. Floyd says:

      I was indeed raised on canned food and SNAP benefits, and I grew up in the City of Milwaukee. It’s true that I went to private high school–only thanks to a generous work-study arrangement and multiple scholarships.

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