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Terre D'Hermes lives alone. At 5:30 each morning, he wakes up (without an alarm), fastens his robe, and walks barefoot across the hardwood floor to pick up the paper on his front porch. Before coming inside, he sweeps the dead leaves off the steps and shakes out the doormat. He coughs. Once inside, he walks into the dark kitchen, reaches into a cabinet and pulls out a canister of instant espresso. He fills a kettle with cold water from the faucet and sets it on the stove. While waiting for it to boil, he toasts two slices of rye bread until they are blackened, then scrapes a thin layer of orange marmalade on the surface. He bites into one corner and chews several times, then swallows. He prepares his cup of coffee—black—stirring it with a metal spoon. He takes out a hard-boiled egg from the fridge and coats it with stale black pepper (even though his favorite part is the chalky yolk). At the table, he opens the newspaper and reads the business section, chewing on the toast. He turns to the op-ed column, then the obituaries. After he is finished eating, he wipes the crumbs from the table and takes a cold shower. He gets dressed, carefully buttoning his shirt in the mirror. He puts on his tweed jacket and adjusts his tie. He lifts his left elbow and accidentally knocks over the potpourri bowl on his dresser. He spends several minutes carefully picking up the pieces, one by one, off of the rug and sets them back into the bowl. After combing his hair, he puts on his hat, switches off the lights, and walks out the door.
03 December, 2010