And The Kettle’s Whistle Went Unattended

A cold torrent shudders from the tap into the cauldron-like bowels of the kettle. He clanks it down on the stove and presses the ignition switch, hearing the click, click, click, WHOOOSH as prelude and prologue to conversation. The flames tickle the kettle’s underbelly as an anticipatory act, fostering his nervousness while he waits.

He dispenses one, two, three teaspoons of leaves into the round-bellied glass pot. On the bench two cups sit side-by-side, their handles turned inward, barely touching.

The kettle whistles and he pours a question. Silently she lets it draw. He pours the milk, stopping when she nods and stirs the words again. She adds sugar to both cups, two for him and one for her, and posits a question of her own.

The tendrils of steam rush headlong into each other, tripping over one another and caught in tangles, melding into one breath.

Lest they burn their lips the conversation is spoken in sips. As the beverage tempers and cools, deeper thoughts are expressed in longer draughts. Drained almost to the dregs, remainders of words stain the bottom of each cup. An unfinished conversation threatens to evaporate as each hand holds the cup for the last whispers of disseminating heat.

She ignites the flame knowing it simmers close to the boil.

They depart while the kettle’s whistle remains unattended.

17 responses to “And The Kettle’s Whistle Went Unattended

  1. nice imagery of the whistling kettle trying to draw attention, of words said and unsaid with stewing tea leaves, puffs of steam condensing the outlines of thoughts….

  2. Nice visual piece of writing Adam. I loved this sentence “The tendrils of steam rush headlong into each other, tripping over one another and caught in tangles, melding into one breath.”

  3. Ah I see what you’ve done! Nice expansion. One nitpick: last line is past tense while the rest is present tense.

    • I know, but I like the way it sounded, so I’m leaving it to upset the grammar pedants. Any suggestions on a better word as I can’t think of any.

  4. I like this but I agree with Stacey – the last line being in a different tense is too jarring. “goes” would do the job just as well as “went”.

  5. Deanna Schrayer

    Love the imagery in this Adam, it feels so much bigger than the few words it is.
    It may change the whole meaning, but I feel the word “weeps” instead of “went” in that last line.

  6. I changed the last line to make the tenses agree.
    The original line was, “They depart while the kettle’s whistle went unattended.”

  7. You had me wondering what they would leave to do while all the attention was paid to the kettle until then. Enjoyed it!

  8. I liked this. Metaphor-laden, but penetrable. (ahem)

  9. What about “They depart while the kettle whistles unattended.”?

    And grammar pedants… you’re an English teacher! *cracks whip*

  10. Pingback: The #FridayFlash Report – Vol 5 Number 1 | Friday Flash

  11. Loved the imagery and the subtle tone of this one, Adam

  12. Love the imagery and the metaphors in this story. Delicious prose. I really enjoyed it.

  13. An enjoyable read, great descriptions.
    I have nominated your blog for a Best Moment Award
    Love reading your poetry & reading your creative and inspirational posts.

  14. Steamy story…;) Makes me wonder why I’m the only tea drinker around here.
    I’m late to the party, so the last line works for me.

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