it’s been a while

June 21, 2013 in lau0601, oneshots by lau0601

It has been a while. More than a while, but why count the days when you no longer know the time? So she leaves it at that: it has been a while.

She very nearly reaches for the scissors but catches herself when she sees the thinly dotted line. Tearing it open seems almost like a Herculean task; was it ever this difficult? When it finally opens, she finds a bowl and upends the packet, watching as the contents collect at the bottom.
 
There’s less than she expected, less than she remembers. Perhaps it’s for the best, since she doesn’t eat that much now. 2 minutes. At 600W. She punches in the numbers and closes the door.
 
It certainly has been a while. One by one they had left, the house growing more silent with each departure. And at the end, though they all swore they’d never leave her – they were gone. They are gone.
 
The microwave beeps and she takes the bowl out. It’s hot. 
 
Outside the kitchen, the house is dark so she flips the lights on and returns for her dinner and a spoon. The right spoon – she smiles faintly to herself when she, again, takes out the forked salad spoon by accident. 
 
She used to hate it when that happened, because how hard was it to just move the damn fork thing somewhere else, into another drawer? But in the silence she never found the heart to move it and tonight, the stupid fork-spoon thing is a welcome sight. 
 
She sits down and takes a bite, then coughs, violently. It was still hot, so hot it burns her tongue. The next bite is taken with more caution and now she can taste it, taste the flavor of the congee. 
 
She almost laughs at herself because she can’t decide – which one hurts more, the burning of her tongue or the vacuum in her life? The heat or the stupidly familiar taste? 
 
She doesn’t know. She just finishes her dinner and puts the bowl and spoon away. 
 
It tastes a bit different, the food. Prepackaged and processed, her dinner is a mere pathetic echo of meals past, meals that could become wild and adventurous because nine girls in one kitchen meant lots of opinions – and the congee always reflected that.
 
That night, she allows herself to cry. She doesn’t know why, but a mouthful of congee makes her cry.  This isn’t the first night Juhyun is alone but it’s the first time she cries, hungry on a full stomach.