The mug sits unwashed on the kitchen table, a layer of white fuzz growing on the surface of the dregs of tea inside it. A smudge of lipstick is on the rim, and there’s a fingerprint made in chocolate on the handle.
The rest of the kitchen is pristine. Every single other mug, cup, glass, plate and bowl is dutifully washed, dried and put away immediately after use. But the mouldy mug remains on the table, as it has for three weeks now.
It was the last thing her lips touched — proof of her once being a living, breathing creature. There are photographs, of course, but they’re mere snapshots of her best parts. Inauthentic.
The mug is evidence of her everyday existence. A reminder of how she liked her tea — strong and with a splash of milk, one sugar, and with two chocolate biscuits on the side.
She would dunk her biscuits three times before taking a bite. She’d talk with her mouth full, her fingers hovering in front of her lips to maintain a hint of good manners. She’d always leave a mouthful of tea behind to avoid drinking the softened biscuit crumbs which had sunk to the murky bottom.
And she’d never wash her mug up. Not right away — not like he would. She’d leave it on the table until evening when she’d clean it along with the dishes from dinner. It was always a bugbear of his. He always hated to see that mug dirty and abandoned on the kitchen table, its lumpy tea dregs turning more and more sour with each passing hour.
He hates to see it even more now that she’s gone, and yet he can’t bear to move it.
So there the unwashed mug will stay, its mould growing wilder each day. A little part of her still living.
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