Beverly always liked to get in the restaurant during the blue hour. The place was silent like church, with only the hum of the walk-ins to punctuate the quiet. When she breezed in, past the porter waiting for the early deliveries, the energy of the place was like walking into the ocean. It enveloped her. For a precious few minutes, there was nothing. No noise except what she made. Starting from scratch, for real.
She flipped lights on, the fluorescents joining the walk-in hum, a little higher pitched. Coffee. The pulse and whine of the Burr grinder, then filling the basket and flicking the machine to on. She moved to the basket of chalk by the chalkboard and wrote ideas for the day's specials, her finger tapping against her pale lips. Early mornings were times for starting braises, dough, stock. She poured herself a cup of coffee and lifted it to her mouth.
All of this done in the perfect quiet, so silent she can hear the whoosh of the gas range as she flares it to life. This one hour is all breath and beat (rhythmic onion chops), scattered sleepy thoughts that don't need to go anywhere, that have no set destination. Sometimes she would steal a spoonful of yogurt or a handful of fruit and pop up onto a silver prep table, chewing slowly, almost meditative.
And she had the feeling that someone soon would be paying her a visit. It's a Saturday and the air just had that quality to it, like if you reached out with a feather and pushed, you'd get a completely new day. She took her coffee out to the darkened dining room. Her visitor didn't need lights to see. She sat down in a booth and waited, her only movement the sound of a chewed ragged fingernail tapping against her watch. It was time.