Illustration by Carina Lorensten

As Every Morning of All the Mornings in the World by Rachele Salvini


Illustration by Carina Lorensten
Illustration by Carina Lorentsen

The buzz of the TV at 5 in the morning does not wake her up. She lies on the sofa, her left arm hanging over. The white light of dawn spills on her face like milk, but she does not open her eyes. She’s cold. The red fleece blanket is on the floor.

Curled on it, he snores. Soft breaths in the silence.

She hears the TV speaker but does not listen.

This female orangutan is 42 years old and has been taking care of her cub for six.

The tiles of the floor are cold and pale, scattered with crumpled handkerchiefs like clouds on the winter sea. Between them, the vet’s number scribbled on a yellow post. She feels his humid nose brushing against her fingers. She thinks she’s dreaming.

Maybe she’s getting used to his absence.

He may not be there in a few hours.

The orang-utan is the primate that takes care of their cubs the longest, after us.

The claws click on the ceramic: coffee grains poured into a small cup. She hears him moving around the room with difficulty. He’s slow. It’s not a dream. He walks around the place as he usually does when dawn turns into morning.

David Attenborough’s voice tells her about faraway lands. On the Ethiopian planes the sun is rising, as it is happening now in her living room.

As every day that begins.

As every morning of all the mornings in the world.

 

She feels his wet nose against her fingers again, to wake her up. She needs to get up, fumble for her glasses, grab the tartan leash that hangs from the heater and go out in the biting cold.

As every morning of all the mornings in the world.

***

Everything has gone as it should.

He’s gone.

The stars begin to crackle in the black sky. She lies on the sofa again. The handkerchiefs are still there, right beside the post with the vet’s number. Tonight there is a Coke can and an empty box of chicken nuggets. She wraps herself up in the red fleece blanket.

After mating for her first time, the female octopus looks for a good place to lay her eggs. This will be her home for six months, during which she won’t eat anything: she will be too busy protecting her future offspring.

It’s dark. Her hand slips towards the floor, and her fingertips sense the cold ceramic again. The next day is already coming. The sun will rise in a while. As every morning of all the mornings in the world.

When the eggs start to hatch, the female octopus is dying. This mother accomplishes the greatest act of love: in order to protect her offspring, she starves herself to death, sacrificing herself for the life that will come. 

The red fleece blanket is warm. She thinks this is a good way to end the day, to finally close the eyes for the last time. It is scattered with blonde hairs, but she does not care. The tartan leash hangs over the heater as every day.

She watches the microscopic octopuses slipping out of their eggs. New life, minuscule hearts bumping in the ocean for the first time. She feels them swimming between the fingers of her hand. She looks at the mother’s corpse pirouetting away in the current, and inhales the smell of the red fleece blanket. Again.

The tiny octopuses twirled and played around her fingertips, dampening her hands. As if, despite everything, she is not really alone.

It’s Sunday morning. She ties her hair up, crushes the Coke can, the chicken nuggets empty box, the handkerchiefs and the post with the vet’s number. She puts everything into a big sack.

She folds the red fleece blanket carefully. She is not sure if she wants to wash it. She decides she can wait. Then she drinks a cup of coffee at the window, the winter sun burning her cheeks.

She does not go out this morning.

 

The tartan leash keeps on hanging over the heater of the living room, all Sunday and then every day of her life. When she looks at it, she feels life, strong and powerful as never before, hitting her like dawn lights in the morning.

When she looks at the leash, the intensity of life reveals itself in all its glory, as a red fleece blanket scattered with blonde hair. As claws that clicked on the floor to come wake her up.

When she looks at the leash, she feels many tiny octopuses spinning around her fingers, just like a nose trying to catch her attention as she slept, just like life going on after the end. As an octopus mother that sailed the ocean, forever.


About the Author

Rachele Salvini

Rachele Salvini is an Italian, 23-year-old student of Creative Writing in London. She has just finished her MA. Her short stories were published on Cultured Vultures, Five2One and The Wells Street Journal, for which she also worked as a translator from Italian to English. She blogs about writing here: rachelesalvini.wordpress.com


About the Illustrator

You can follow Carina’s amazing art on Instagram.


As Every Morning of All the Mornings in the World is one of the many amazing stories from the upcoming fourth edition of the literary collection The Machinery.

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4 thoughts on “As Every Morning of All the Mornings in the World by Rachele Salvini

  1. Lovely. I felt myself slowing down (coulda been the first beer of the day too) matching the pace of the story. “The white light of dawn spills on her face like milk,” Damn you, that’s good. 🙂 Thanks for this story, I’ll read it a few more times.

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