In preparation for an article I was writing, I had interviewed 9 divorced women – each with their own tale to tell. While writing the article, I thought of every single one of them and would hold them in my thoughts while I grieved for them. This is a series of fictional stories, inspired by their lives and strength.
Any resemblance to real persons or other real-life entities is purely coincidental. All characters and other entities appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, dead or alive, or other real-life entities, past or present, is purely coincidental.
6 months ago
It was a Thursday and Olive had just arrived home from a long day of work. She works as a teacher and it was nearing the examination period so her work days had been stretching past 12 hours from Monday to Friday.
“Dear? she calls out to an empty living room while taking her shoes off. She sees a packet of unopened instant noodles on the kitchen table and heads to the study room where she found Danny, her husband.
The study room was Danny’s man-cave. It had three monitors, loud speakers and a comfortable gaming chair where he spent most of his time from morning to night. “Dear?” Olive calls out to her husband again, this time knocking on the door. She knew he didn’t like it when she came in unannounced. Danny had his earphones in and was playing a game, chatting merrily with someone, laughing away. He had no idea that Olive was standing there.
“Thanks for sending me the photo, you look very cute. I don’t usually compliment other girls but you’re really very cute.” She heard her husband say. Her heart dropped and she took a few long strides towards him and tapped quickly on his shoulder. Very abruptly, he spun around and faced her. Shock momentarily flashed across his face and Olive registered a look on his face that didn’t sit right with her. It quickly passed as Danny put on his poker face and immediately said to her, “Oh! You’re back. Wait ah, I’m just finishing the game. You go out first, I’m coming already. Help me to turn on the stove can? I haven’t eat dinner, very hungry.”
Olive didn’t know what to say or do but she followed his bidding and went outside to boil a pot of hot water for him. Without thinking, she started preparing the instant noodles just the way her husband liked it. He always preferred to have half of his noodles soft and the other half hard. While cracking two eggs into the boiling broth, Olive felt sadness creeping into her heart but it was such a familiar feeling that she was no longer surprised at it. She welcomed it like an old friend. This wasn’t the first time she had heard her husband compliment other women. “I’m just making friends right, I need them to be friendly with me so I can learn how to game better. Aiya, you don’t know one la, you also don’t game.” He had brushed her off again and again, each time she caught him flirting online. “I haven’t even met them before in real life. You scared what? Not like I can cheat on you with them.” The way he used the word ‘can’ instead of ‘want’ or ‘will’ didn’t escape Olive. She hadn’t dared say anything during those arguments. She didn’t want to seem like a naggy old wife. Her own father had left her mother because he found her “old and naggy”.
After cooking the instant noodles and dishing it out on a bowl for her husband, she waited for a few minutes but Danny was still in his room. Refusing to care whether he was coming out or not, she went to take a shower instead. Barely 5 seconds out of the shower and not even wrapped in a towel yet, she heard Danny yell at her from the kitchen. “Eh why the noodles so soggy already? You know I don’t like my noodles to be all soft one. How to eat now like that? That was the last packet somemore leh.”
Olive faced the mirror and saw her reflection come through as the fog slowly cleared from it. She could feel how tired she looked. It suddenly occurred to her that she hadn’t looked in a mirror for a while now – not since Danny mentioned her face looking chubby. She wouldn’t have minded it if not for the girls her husband were chatting up with. They all looked at least 8 – 10 years younger than her. She knew how they looked because her friends had cyber stalked them for her.
As she held onto the towel wrapped around her body, her feet rooted to the bathroom floor, unwilling to step out, she heard the front door open and close.
“Dear?” she opened the bathroom door and called out to Danny meekly. The silence reverberated around the empty house and she knew she was alone.
She walked towards the bowl of uneaten instant noodles and sat down at the table to eat it while still wrapped in her towel, hair dripping wet from the shower. She didn’t mind the drops of water from her hair dripping into her noodles because they accompanied the tears that were silently rolling down her cheeks. She forced herself to finish the entire bowl of noodles that were perfectly cooked and not even touched. “How are these noodles soggy?” She thought to herself as she slurped down the remaining soup.
That night, Olive slept on the sofa but her husband never came home.