The white marbled floor sparkled like a floor cleaner advertisement as it competed with the pristine white of the walls. The bright blue couch looked brand new as if someone had never sat on it. The coffee table was without any small scars from drunken spills or careless scratches.
Outside on the windowsill on a beautifully polished rack lay a lonely pot with a dying plant. It was the only sign of life - albeit diminishing, in that house.
The apartment was not new, although one might be forgiven to think it was. It was a seven-year-old veteran whose owner rarely stepped in it.
Jemima worked as Product development lead in a leading technology company. Her biggest struggle in life was not money but time. Time to eat, to meet friends and family, to come back home.
There was a small room in the house that stood out from the modern interior. It was painted pink and blue with a happy mural of a child sitting atop a pony. The white crib had gathered dust and the keyhole showed signs of rust.
Jemima entered her house like an intruder. She took off her mask and plopped herself on her sofa. She had been so sure that her strategy of working as hard as possible to prevent her brain from thinking any wayward thoughts would prove effective.
When earlier in the day, she’d read the words - work from home, a sense of doom made its presence felt in the pit of her stomach.
Facing an empty home is like facing your thoughts as they bounce around the bare four walls. She looked at the door of the closed room and clutched her stomach. All those failed IVFs, that faint hope followed by strong despair that she had repeated 3 times before giving up.
She got up suddenly and went to her bar, took out a bottle of tequila and chugged it like water. The next day when she woke up with the mother of all hangovers, she started by reluctantly drinking water.
She went to the balcony to look out at the macabre silence on the roads. As she noticed the plant, she smiled at it.
“You want some water too?”
The next day, as she got up from a drunken stupor again, she went to look for the plant. Its stem had perked up a bit. It made her smile.
That night she drank a little less and bought another plant. By the end of the month, the balcony boasted an array of green shrubbery.
Satisfied, and sober, Jemima looked at the seedlings she had nurtured and the one that she had brought back to life.
She picked up the telephone, “Hi, I would like to know the procedure for adoption.”