Photo: Kristóf Munkácsi / Flickr
Photo: Kristóf Munkácsi / Flickr

Blind water

A short story.

Another drop wasting way. She hears it in her sleep and turns to the other side. Tempted to get out of bed and put an aluminium pot under the leaking tap, she sits up. Next to her is the man she married twenty-four years ago. His face is half-covered – he's drawn the quilt up to his face. She knows that the man she married isn't as young anymore. It's not his face or hair or gait that tells her that. In this soundless dark, his sleep gives away his age. Tiredness has accumulated inside his nostrils and mouth, in orifices that allow escape. He tries to push it out in his sleep every night, but they are like stubborn stones inside a kidney. Though he's covered by folds of sleep now, she knows that he'll wake up as soon as she gets down from the bed. He'll shout at her in his sleep, louder than he does when awake. She's more scared of him now than she's ever been before. It's because of how he ascribes everything to her 'abnormality' – she finds it more hurtful than being called fat, or ugly.

She looks at the cell phone – 2:37. Another six hours for them to wake up properly. Even if there was a drop every minute – and she's certain that there are at least three drops a minute, if not more – that would be 360 drops. That's enough for a person to brush their teeth. No, she couldn't let this water waste away.

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Himal Southasian