Grace turned on the kitchen light, carefully placed her favourite mug on the kitchen bench, and then filled the kettle.
The gas stove flicked to life, and she rubbed her hands above the blue flame. The warmth was the first sign that she was up and ready to tackle the winter morning.
She wrapped her hands around the large kettle that always reminded her of a pregnant cow, mostly because of the rounded shape and black spots. The flames licked at the bottom hungrily, trying to consume everything.
In the kitchen window, she watched herself. This is what a fifty-year-old woman looked like, she told herself. This is what the halfway mark looked like.
The initial thoughts threatened to burn down her good mood, so she vanished them. She refused to entertain the notion that she was single and living alone. Grace was good at her job, had been on a few dates, but the effort required to make the man seem interesting was beyond her for the moment. She was financially independent, in good health, two children finding their way in the world and happy.
The heat of the kettle brought her back to the kitchen. It was getting close. Soon she’d need to open the top to prevent it from whistling.
She watched herself in the mirror. Her own head cocked to the side and she could see her eyes narrow. A thought flitted across her mind, one she’d never considered before.
She was living alone. It’d been months since Rory moved out.
It was five in the morning, almost time for her to begin her studying, and she stood back.
The kettle cried out at the abandonment, but Grace no longer needed to worry about anyone else. This was her time. The whistle grew louder and angrier and steam billowed in spurts.