Abbie baked cinnamon buns on a somewhat rusty cookie sheet, panned applewood bacon in a cast iron skillet, and whipped peppered eggs in a cracked bowl. Even with creaky knees, with wrinkly hands, and with curly, gray hair she tied at the back of her neck, she made certain her and her husband, Crane, split bread. It's been their routine since they wore their prime and snuck as lovers in an abandoned school room before they decided to marry.
They were free in 2017 and the years prior, yet she remembered when they weren't as open with their love. She webbed their fingers together in silence while resting in dusty and too-tight desks when they had visits in the schoolroom. He kissed her plump lips and listened to her hum and breathe. That schoolroom was their safe place.
Their lives were different today in small-town Sleepy Hollow and didn't include the small library they worked at. She wasn't the help anymore; he wasn't a history librarian. They were a retired and happy elderly couple.
Crane set the table while Abbie removed the buns from the oven. She placed them on a platter before she iced them. For some reason, Crane wouldn't stop staring at her.
"What?" She smirked.
"Nothing, other than the fact that I love you." He walked over to her with his cane.
She kissed him and said, "I love you, too."
As they finished preparing breakfast, she let her mind drift to when they weren't as free to say that. She thought of times implanted in de jure and de facto segregation, "colored only" this and "whites only" that, lunch counter sit-ins and bus boycotts, brutal lynchings of black bodies, long marches for freedom, assassinations of inspiring leaders they never got to meet, but only heard of and saw through television news and newspapers, separated living residents and schools, blood on blood for what's right. They loved even while oppression of that era served as the backdrop. In the schoolroom, they were free. They hugged tightly, the kisses felt like feathers, the laughs widened the room, and their chatter was gentle. They were happy. There were no consequences.