by Rashmi Vaish

It was always the vodka. The double shots of vodka that he would gulp down one after another every dark dreaded dusk till his voice would get low and husky and his words and fists like jagged-edged rocks would come flying at her, expertly aimed to beat to a pulp every soft, exposed corner of her, with not a single scar visible to the outside world. She would wake up every morning with his scent from the night all over her body and in her mouth – Marlboro Lights, vodka, Calvin Klein aftershave, hot steel and leather from his bike and exhaust fumes – and it would take a long hot shower while he lay sprawled, asleep and spent, to clean herself inside and out. It wasn’t long before she would look in the mirror and wonder who she really was, if she even existed because, as he would say, she wasn’t a good wife, had no personality, couldn’t tell a wrench from a screwdriver and would never make a good mother either, if she ever got pregnant, that is, the useless woman. Then he got in an accident and some weeks after his funeral, the police came by the house to tell her they found out that apart from his high blood alcohol level, which was the number one reason, a loose brake wire had also contributed to the crash and that he must have slipped up in maintaining his bike or he would still be alive. She breathed in the aroma of fresh coffee from the cup she’d just placed in the officer’s hands, the gentle scent of lavender underlining the air around her, looked out over the porch at a quiet sunset's blood-hued rays caressing the first star in a delicately twilit sky, nodded and murmured as she exhaled, “It was always the vodka.”


Rashmi Vaish wades through her thoughts with the occasional entry in her virtual notebook. She hopes to one day grow up to be a real writer.