It was the last time. He chose a yellow straw, put it in the glass of soy milk. Slowly, leisurely, almost reverently, he took a sip. Another. Yet another. The cool sweet drink caressed his throat. Then there was none.
He got up from the table, took the glass, threw the straw, washed the glass with water and dish-washing liquid, her words echoing in his ear, “Don’t just rinse it. You don’t get rid of germs just with hot water.” How many times had he nodded his head, smiled and just rinsed anyway. Unless she was watching.
She was not. It had been a long time since she was. It had been seven months and three days.
He had come home to an individual-sized tetra pak of soy milk. Under it, a piece of paper torn from a spiral notebook. “I’m sorry.” That was all. He had wrapped the soy milk carton in the note, folding its corners just so, putting one-inch scotch tape in the middle and on both ends, like a carefully wrapped present. He had put it on the top shelf of the fridge. It had been the first thing his eyes saw every time he opened the door. No longer.
He looked at the paper in his hand, the words still black, the folds clear and sharp where they had embraced the box.
Published in Offshoots12 (June 2013)