He looked at the clock to check the time. 17:51.
The damn clock. Two fucking thousand rupees for that chrome plated piece of shit.
Just another thing you made me waste money on, he thought to himself. He didn’t say this out loud though. He knew it would upset her.
The crystal glass lay empty in front of him on the table, but he didn’t pour himself another drink. He hated rushing his drinks, it always gave him a bad hangover the next day.
And I really don’t need the hangover at work tomorrow, he thought. Lots to do.
He looked at her long, wavy brown hair that followed the curve of her breasts as it made its way down to her waist, and he felt a strange sense of arousal. He smiled, slightly embarrassed.
Don’t even think about it, he thought. She’s not in the mood, and it’s just plain wrong to force yourself on her.
She walked in the front door, smiling brightly with the bag of groceries she’d bought from the market yard down the road, to find him sitting with his face buried in his hands, crying his eyes out.
“What’s wrong?” she asked him. “What happened?”
He didn’t say anything immediately. He just looked up, eyes blood red from crying for hours, tears streaming down his face, stared at her for a few seconds and then screamed, “I hate you, you bitch.”
He looked up at the clock (the damned clock, he thought) again. 18:00.
He leaned forward and picked up the bottle of rum from the table, poured out an almost accurately measured drink and placed the bottle back. He’d left just enough in the bottle for one last drink.
He would’ve poured one out for his wife too, but she didn’t drink anymore. She’d stopped drinking for a while now, for no specific reason. If anyone asked her why, she’d say “I just can’t handle my drink anymore, and he doesn’t like it,” nodding towards her husband, who’d just laugh, shrug and give her a kiss on her cheek.
So he sat and sipped from his glass alone, wishing he had better company than his wife who didn’t drink anymore.
“I saw you with him.”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know shit, you know just who the fuck I’m talking about.”
“I swear I don’t know…”
But he saw her eyes dart quickly away from his gaze and then back. He heard the faint quiver in her voice as her last word trailed off into nothingness. He felt the heat rise as her face flushed with guilt.
Her voice cracked and she stood dumbfounded.
He stood up.
“I saw you two. I saw you get into the car with him. I watched as you two drove away. I followed you. I saw you park in that asshole’s apartment cellar, right in the corner. Perfect spot, eh? I watched him kiss you. I watched him take your shirt off, and I watched you remove his jeans. I watched him fuck you, you slut. I watched him fuck you like the whore you really are.”
She was crying now. Tears fell from her eyes quicker than the bags of groceries that fell from her hand to the floor. A packet of chips fell on top of the box of Hershey’s kisses that she’d bought for the next-door-neighbour’s kid.
He took a step forward, and the packet of chips burst underneath his shoe.
The damned clock said it was 18:35.
He took one last drag from his cigarette, and then stubbed it against the leg of the table. Flicking the butt across the room, he stood up and walked towards the front door.
Before he could he open the door, he turned around and surveyed the room.
His wife was still at the table.
He couldn’t just leave her alone like that. She wouldn’t like that at all.
He went back to the table and sat down. He poured himself the last of the rum, neatly put the bottle cap back on it and placed the empty bottle between him and his wife on the table.
“Cheers,” he said to himself, and sipped at his glass, slowly, so that he could spend as much time with her as possible.
He didn’t want to leave her while she was still that upset. He couldn’t.
He smiled at her.
He slapped her hard.
He slapped her in a way he had only slapped his younger brother once as a kid, when he had found the little fucker stealing the money he had been saving for over a year to buy that leather jacket he had wanted for so long.
She was bleeding from her lip, but he didn’t see it.
She didn’t scream or yell in pain. She just sobbed through her now slowly swelling lower lip, mumbling words that sounded like “sorry” and “I didn’t mean to hurt you” and “I was going to end it”.
He didn’t hear any of that however.
He picked her up from the floor and steadied her. And then slapped her again.
This time, she did scream.
At 19:00 on the damned clock, he drained the remainder of his drink.
Standing up from the table, he picked up his glass and washed it in the kitchen sink.
He put it back in the showcase in the living room, but not before wiping it dry. He knew his wife hated it when he didn’t dry the crystal out first.
He went to the table, kissed his wife’s cold cheeks and said, “I’ll see you soon, bitch.”
He pulled his jacket on, and shut the door behind him.
It was cold out, but the rum, along with his jacket, one that his wife had bought him for Christmas last year, kept him nice and warm.
He found the neighbour’s kid playing with his remote controlled car in front of their house, as he always did.
He smiled at the boy, and pulled out the packet of Hershey’s Kisses from his jacket.
The boy’s face lit up immediately.
He wiped the still fresh blood of the packet on to the back of his jeans, and gave the chocolates to the boy.
He ruffled his hair, smiled at him, and walked down the road, until the boy couldn’t see him anymore.