Sophie pulls the last damp sheet from the wicker basket and hangs it over the clothesline, corners squared off, edges free. She smooths the soft cotton, making sure there are no wrinkles. She reaches into the mesh bag, removes two wooden clothespins, and fastens the sheet to the line just as the wind begins to stir. The warm breeze catches her by surprise, billowing the circle of freshly washed laundry into a rhapsody of motion. The fragrance of linen drying in the sun – reminds me of childhood, she thinks, as the sheets blow all around her. She’s surrounded by a swirl of pure white, backlit by the morning sun and the deep blue of the sky. She feels like a little girl again, playing hide and seek with her sister among the flapping clothes. She throws her head back and laughs, intoxicated by being outdoors in her own home on a weekday morning. “Sweet freedom!” she cries out loud.

Liam glances out the window at his wife. How lovely she is, outlined in golden light, surrounded by white and blue, standing barefoot in green. She looks ten years younger, he thinks. The buzzer goes off and he slips a silver-grey kitchen mitt over his right hand, opening the oven door with his left. He carefully pulls out a loaf of bread, sighing with satisfaction. Looks perfect. He’s been experimenting with new recipes. He’s proud of the special ingredients, eager to brag to Sophie about his super-healthy creation. Whole wheat flour, sunflower, poppy, sesame and flax seeds, oats and just a touch of honey. While the bread cools, he tests the dark green bumpy fruit waiting on the counter. His thumb leaves a slight indentation – the perfect ripeness!

“Avocado toast coming up,” he yells out the open window. Sophie breaks into a smile at the scent of freshly baked bread. She picks up the empty clothes basket, running barefoot through the lush grass toward her husband, who shouts, “Brunch at home every morning. We did it!” He hums to himself as he sets the table for two.

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Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago

What a lovely picture of a peaceful summer morning, Julie! I can feel Sophie’s happiness through your magnificently chosen wording and enjoyed reading how she carefully took care of her linen while Liam made bread in the same way. I am guessing that they have made it through many years until now, being able to enjoy retirement. Indeed, La Dolce Vita! Great writing!

Christer Norrlof
Christer Norrlof (@christer-norrlof)
1 month ago
Reply to  Julie Harris

As all good literature, your story can be read and interpreted in various ways. It could be understood and appreciated as a story about a couple who have retired, feeling relieved and satisfied with their newfound freedom.
(I don’t have a problem with older people walking around barefoot in the grass. But probably, I should have reacted to the hint that Sophie was running.)
Re-reading it, I still think it’s a great story, with wonderful descriptions of Sophie’s feelings and thoughts as she hangs her laundry in the sun on a weekday morning. And I probably sense and understand Sophie’s joy in a different way now that I know her age and situation. She has many years of freedom (and uncertainty) in front of her and many years to enjoy with Liam who sees her beauty, her enthusiasm and her happiness.
Now, I am curious to see the sequels.

Lotchie Carmelo
Lotchie Carmelo (@lotchie-carmelo)
1 month ago

The title itself speaks of freedom, happiness, and contentment. It’s nice to hear Sophie’s “Sweet Freedom” cry out loud. I think it’s a relief for her. Nice writing. I can’t wait to read the next part.

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