By the time they reached home, it had stopped raining. The sky was an unnaturally bright blue, the air heavy and hot. They got to work instantly. She got out the ironing board and started ironing his clothes. He pulled out his suitcases from the closet. They were musty from an 8-month long sabbatical. All his travel clothes were soon stacked up in little piles all around the room. He picked a set, discarded another, fussed over a third. Matching shoes, socks, handkerchiefs, underwear… the works. She ironed a couple of shirts, a few pairs of trousers and a pair of cotton shorts and packed it for him. The two pairs of shoes didn’t fit in the suitcase until she advised him to wear one of the pairs instead of packing it. All the items finally fit in and the suitcase was locked. He showered and changed. She reminded him to pack his belts and ear-buds. Soon after, he gave a final survey to his luggage, kissed her good-bye and drove away.

She looked around the dirty apartment and sighed in dismay. The sink was full of greasy dishes, there were dirty clothes strewn all around along with the freshly washed ones, the carpet was a display of brown shoe-prints. She soon got to work, picking this, cleaning that… She folded all the washed clothes neatly and placed them in the cupboard. Picking up the dirty clothes, she filled them into the laundry bags. The dishes were piled into the dishwasher. She got the vacuum cleaner out and ran it all over the tiny apartment. Her knees were killing her but she couldn’t find the courage to stop, take a breather.

After an hour of scrubbing, washing and cleaning, she finally straightened her aching back and looked around. There was nothing remaining to be done. She went into the bathroom and took a quick shower. The clock struck 9:00 pm. She turned the TV on. She surfed listlessly but found nothing interesting. Well, I have to sleep, she tiredly thought. She turned the light off the instant she entered the room so that she wouldn’t have to see the empty bed. Quietly she crept into the once-warm bed and pulled the comforter over her head. The instant her fingers touched the empty pillow next to hers, her reserve broke. She sobbed uncontrollably, like a child.

[A dramatised and *dressed-up* piece of fiction….The essential disclaimer]