by mavis teo, photo credits.

Her child was tucked in with his favourite stuffed whale and peacefully slumbering away. The whale was his father’s idea and he’d bought it when the child was still a twitching ball of cells in her uterus. He’d been so happy when she informed him of the elevated levels of hCG that he proudly went out and bought the stuffed toy, proclaiming that the little one would grow up as brilliant as both his parents.

And there she was, with a glass of whiskey in her hands, watching the ice slowly dissolve, forming swirls of amber in the glass. She knew she shouldn’t, but she took one glance at the delicate anatomically correct heart pendant that he’d got her a year ago as an anniversary gift and decided that self-control was overrated.

Tears pooled in her eyes and she rubbed them with furious restraint. She would not cry.

She misses the way he smiles at her when she says something silly, or when she sees something foreign and immediately whips out Google. He always teases her about her thirst for knowledge–“still trying to read the entirety of Nature’s articles?”

She misses his hugs; their all-encompassing warmth making her feel so safe and so loved. “The oxytocin surge is intoxicating,” she would whisper into the crook of his neck, causing his body to tremor with laughter.

She misses the way their child looks at him as if he is a superhero, set out to kiss all his bruises away, always a pair of strong arms to fall into after an exhausting day of battling demons during recess or conquering fallen math sums.

She misses the way his eyes shine whenever biology is mentioned. His passion was what initially drew her attention, and it was endlessly endearing whenever he whips out his tiny notebook full of scribbles of notes to either consult or add to it. He teased her for her conscientious reading; but he was just the same.

She looks down at her clenched fists and despite her best efforts, her nails left transient imprints in her palms. The whiskey glass stained rings on the wooden countertop, condensation pooling and leaving dark trails in its wake. The ice had fully melted, but the alcohol still burns in her throat.

A tiny, detached part of her reminded her that it was a Tuesday. She knew she would pay for it in the morning if she didn’t stop soon. But the alcohol makes everything fuzzy and takes the edge off the pain.

It was their anniversary, and she desperately wanted to feel again.

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