Have You Got the Yoghurt?

A prequel to this work by Fatihah Firdausi Nuzula. You may want to read that one first.

From: Sonya

I want a banana yogurt.

Son of a, River thought, almost throwing her phone against the nearest wall. Of course, Sonya would stay silent when she had bid her farewell to the grocery store. Of course, Sonya would relay her order via text message while she was on the way. Of course, Sonya would make her life much more difficult by ordering that one yogurt that was ridiculously hard to acquire, on a day River was supposed to sleep in.

What kind of brand, anyway, that only distributed its products in only a small amount of batch—fifteen per week, per store?

It’s true. Sonya had done her fair bit of research, for what it’s worth. A nature researcher’s mind worked in a completely different way, it seemed. She had compiled a massive data of grocery stores across the town, denoting each store with its own stocks of the banana yogurt, keeping tally and making the statistics, before coming to the grand conclusion that each week, one of them had to get to the store exactly before nine in the morning to snatch a packet and bring it home. Otherwise, they would have to suffer a week with no banana yogurt to sustain them.

Sustain one of them, River mentally corrected herself. She wasn’t even a fan of yogurt or dairy products in general.  Only Sonya was. And now, River was the one who had to do the heavy lifting.

To: Sonya

You didn’t say anything about yogurt.

From: Sonya

Just remembered.

Have you realized you forgot your glasses?

River’s hand shot up to her face. Touching, probing. There was no familiar handle in front of her eyes. And the world looked a bit—a lot—blurry, now that she thought about it.

Just fantastic.

——

From: Sonya

Everything alright?

To: Sonya

Almost ran to an ice cream truck.

From: Sonya

That’s worrisome.

Could you get two?

To: Sonya

Why would we get ice cream trucks.

Oh.

Still no.

——

They didn’t normally go for grocery trips together.

Week one and three belonged to Sonya, two and four to River. Sonya was usually in charge of writing down the shopping list of all the stuff they had run out of. God knows River couldn’t compose anything close to an order of things. It’s not only once she had forgotten to buy some stuff Sonya had asked for. Ever since the tragedy of running out of shampoo on the day Sonya had a conference to attend and River her first dramatic reading, Sonya took matters into her own hands and make the shopping list every week.

Once or twice, when they happened to have a day off together, Sonya would drag a tousled, rumpled, sleep-ridden River out of bed, force her to wash up and put on some scarf, and drag her for a grocery trip together. River would complain the whole way just because. She would sulk and sleep against the car window and grumble about how it all felt a little too domestic: the fight over which radio to tune in and the parking on the basement and the pushing the cart along the all too bright ceilings and the splitting up for more efficient shopping. Sonya only hummed at her absently, attention fully on the road.

River never drove, when Sonya was there.

They didn’t normally switch turns grocery shopping. Sonya knew River had too much sporadicity in her life already, what with jumping from one show to another, one open-air theater to another. Sonya never said anything, but she knew River would appreciate one constant variable in her life.

Today must be a deviation, then. Sonya had nudged her awake and declared a state of emergency. An emergency that required River to vacate the flat and set out for some stuff. An emergency that—now that she thought about it—she had no recollection of. 

Damn Sonya and the way she became so convincing when she wanted something. 

——

River pushed the cart down the corridor, trying to read the labels without squinting too much lest she would get headaches by sunup.

It was surprisingly a slow day in the store. The lines weren’t long. Only a few people milled around the aisles. Most of all, there were no children shrieking and yelling while trudging along with their parents.

She absently hummed along to the music blared through the speakers, heading straight to the fruit section. Then she stopped. She backtracked and peered to the empty aisle she had just passed.

Huh. Cereals.

It … had been a while. Her last memory of cereals wasn’t the fondest one. A few years back, when Sonya had been struck by the dreadful stomach flu that had left her bedridden for a week, River had been forced to switch profession to a nurse. Sonya wasn’t able to stomach any solid food, and even soup and porridge had ended up in the toilet. With the significant pain and temper Sonya was deep in, River was forced to come up with the greatest food idea possible. 

River didn’t want Sonya to die of an empty tummy, so she resorted to the last possible option: knocking on their neighbor’s door, asking for advice as to how to prevent someone from vomiting every food intake, and if it’s not a bother, did they happen to have any food that she hadn’t tried yet?

When the door swung inwards and River opened her mouth, she realized she would very much look like a jerk. The kind who would only start a conversation when they needed a favor. She felt ashamed in an instant, considering this was the first time they communicated, and the first thing she did was asking a favor.

She justified her action by reminding herself that there was a dying person inside her flat who soon would start eating the walls. On top of that, the neighbor hadn’t initiated an interaction either, so they’re square. If anything, she was going in the right direction. At least this could be the start of a good neighborship.

The neighbor was a nurse, and holy crap wasn’t that a cherry on top. He supplied her with some oranges and bananas, and a small cereal box. River stared at the box as if it had grown a head. Surely cereal wasn’t the greatest idea for a person who threatened to stab herself with a pencil the second a wave of nausea hit?

“Well, don’t use milk,” the nurse said. “Change it to water and honey. It works for my son.”

Ah. Okay then. River accepted the packet gratefully, along with a promise to give back something in exchange. But the nurse smiled and asked for nothing in return. Perhaps because it’s in his instincts to look after other people. He even offered to take a look should the patient’s condition worsen.

River almost cried a bucket. But she pulled herself together, and with some dignity left, promised to do so.

It miraculously worked. Sonya glared daggers when she came in with another bowl, threatening to hurl it across the room if she dared to feed her anything ever again. It took some effort, but Sonya ended up finishing the whole dish without throwing up.

That night her fever broke and River was finally able to get a good night’s sleep.

“We have a discount.”

A voice to her right jolted her from her thoughts. She whipped her head, coming face-to-face with a girl wearing a red uniform. The cereal brand was seamed to the chest. A salesperson, she immediately recognized.

“Buy two get one,” the girl said. She looked too cheerful for someone who had to wander around this huge store all day, offering any stranger she met with a cereal box promo. Maybe she had grown used to it. 

River contemplated the offer. “So that means I’m losing my money?”

The girl smiled. “Well, as you pay two to get three, I wouldn’t say so.”

River didn’t expect her question to be answered seriously. It was intended as a joke—of course, she knew what “buy two get one” entailed. A tempting offer, but what use would two cereal boxes be? They hadn’t eaten any cereals since the whole stomach flu fiasco. She could buy one box, sure, but letting the other box go stale in their cabinets?

Or, she could give it to their nurse neighbor. His son would be delighted. After that awkward first meeting slash health consultation, sometimes River met them at the front door, the boy carrying his school backpack while his dad was locking the door. Such domesticity stirred something inside her, and once or twice she gave the boy a juice box to accompany his lunch.

River gave up to the temptation. Sonya could kill her on behalf of their spending later. “Do I just bring it to the cashier, or is there a coupon or something?”

“Just bring it to the cashier,” the girl said cheerfully. She took two boxes from the rack and disposed of it in River’s cart, seemingly relieved and in good spirit. River had an inkling that she was the first one to actually listen and accept the promo. “The promo lasts until the end of the month—if you’d like to come back and collect more.”

No, thanks, River thought. She bent down to reach the box, only now examining the back of the carton, scanning the calories and expiration date.

”Good luck about her, by the way,” said the girl. “Must have sucked, the stomach flu.”

“Oh, no, this time it’s not for—” River’s head shot upright, jaw dropped and eyes widened. How could the girl know about—

She was alone in the aisle.

——

To: Sonya

I hope you fancy some cereals. Might have bought one or two.

Or ten.

——

She crossed off all stuff in the list at the first store. First, because of course that store didn’t have the yogurt she—no, Sonya—was pining for. River hadn’t expected it to either. Even a supermarket could only do so much.

She dumped the grocery at the backseat of the car and set off to the second store.

——

There was an accident on the highway.

It seemed fairly recent. Some parts of the road were packed with a throng of people.  The curb was a mess of cluttered stuff—some books, some papers, some knick-knacks, a shoe, and a coat. The lamppost was bent oddly. Blocked by legs and backs, River could see three people, one of them couldn’t be more than ten of age, sitting at the curb, looking dazed and in pain. Someone was making a phone call. An ambulance, maybe.

She counted two crushed motorcycles and one horrifically bumped-up car. Shivers ran down her spines as she stared a little too long. She had always had that involuntary reaction whenever she passed an accident scene. Even the sound of brakes screeching a little too loudly could startle her and send her into a brief catatonic state.

Sonya had found out about it quite late into the relationship. Not more than two months ago, in fact, during their vacation overseas, on one of their rare grocery trips together. She had gone back in to collect the grocery (a pair of doofus they were, leaving the bags on the cashier). River had decided to wait on the pavement, absently looking around her.

Then the t-junction only forty feet away exploded. The sound was ear-splitting, and for a moment River thought she was going deaf. Shards of glass were flying and smokes were starting to accumulate into a clump of grey in the sky. For a moment the world consisted solely of one singular chaos, car alarms went off all at the same time while people were tumbling and screeching. Some children were wailing. River was thrown against the nearest wall. Her wrist took the burnt of her fall and got sprained in the process.

She cowered, fighting to block out the sensory inputs overwhelming her. The telltale of shock was there: shortness of breath, dizziness, and clammy skin. Her ears were bleeding. Her wrist hurt like hell. Her body was tainted with dust—must have been the debris. She had some scratches and her head felt like ringing and full of cotton—had some of the debris hit her? 

Her vision swam back and forth. It had snowed before, cold and withering and dry and suffocating; this time was supposed to be snowing, too. There were wailings all over the street. She tried to anchor her thoughts to one particular sound but quickly met a dead end. She was going to pass out. She was going to die

A hand shook her awake. River flinched, trying to get away from it. Then a litany of her own names hit her head like a brick and she forced herself to get back to the present, focusing on one set of green eyes in front of her.

Even during her compromised state, she recognized Sonya’s expression. She looked terrified. It might have been because River had never been one easily scared. Hell, she had never cried in front of her. But at that time she had landed ten years in the past in the middle of the snow and there had been cars and sirens and dead, dead, limp, lifeless bodies of her mother and older sister and younger brother staring hollowly at the night sky.

Then the stupidest thing happened.

Sonya said something to her (or shouted, now that she looked back on it), ran back inside, and came out with a plush squirrel

“Here, hold this squirrel!” she was still yelling, half in panic and half in rush, as if thinking that an increase in decibel would penetrate River’s dazed state. She wrenched her hands open and made her clutch at the squirrel. “Hugging a plush has the same effect of hugging a feline—it gives you reassurance and a calming effect!”

Had it not been for her racing heart, River would have laughed at that. Instead, she obeyed her command, and just sat there, staring at the squirrel. It was fluffy. And chubby. And looked like Sonya, in a way; wide-eyed and sparkling with curiosity.

The seconds that felt like ten years passed before Sonya decided to break the silence. “I like cats,” she blurted out, although still cautious, as if one wrong move and River would crumble. “Persian. Angora. Siberian. You name it. Every cat will do. Do you know that the higher they fall, the higher the probability of them surviving without broken bones?”

A man was shouting down the street. Sirens were starting to crowd in. Ambulance, maybe. Or the police. River couldn’t draw the line between them, not now, not when the only thing grounding her was the plush squirrel in her hands and Sonya’s arms around her.

“Siberian,” River whispered, her clutch on the squirrel loosened, “isn’t a cat.”

“And dogs, then,” Sonya squeezed her shoulder comfortingly. “I like cats and dogs. I am both a cat and dog person.”

“And,” River drew a ragged breath. Her head had started to clear. “What purpose would that information serve?”

“Next time, if I’m the one in shock, you could buy me a cat.”

“A cat?”

“A cat-something. Doesn’t have to be a real cat. Although that would be much appreciated.”

River let out a choked sob and hugged her back.

It was only now that River realized she hadn’t had the chance to buy Sonya the cat-something. Clutching her steering wheel, she tried to regain back her balance and drove with more control.

The second store didn’t have the banana yogurt, as expected.  She walked out with one cat plush in her bag nonetheless.

——

To: Sonya

There’s no banana flavor. Can we settle with apple instead?

From: Sonya

🙁

:((

:((((((

To: Sonya

Ugh fine.

——

This was the third store. River had started to run out of patience. 

It’s not easy, this hunting banana yogurt for your significant other business.

She stepped out of the car, yawning and stretching a bit. She stepped on her own shoelace. That was mistake number one. Distracted, she looked at it for a second too long, not realizing that her car door had started swinging back.

It thumped her on the head.

——

To: Sonya

Make your own yogurt you’re a goddamn scientist after all.

From: Sonya

If you want to come home to a blasted kitchen then by all means.

——

Sonya was a sweet tooth.

River knew this long before they committed a relationship. She would visit her flat to find a box of ice creams in the fridge, a carton of tart in the row below, a half-eaten chocolate pie in front of the television, and a whole assortment of sweets and cookies somewhere near her room. Sonya ordered too much dessert for her own good. She’d impulsively buy cakes on her way home or anytime the smell of bakery and patisserie wafted their way into her nose. In short, the amount of sugar intake she consumed was monstrous.

God knows how Sonya managed to keep ants out of her flat. Or develop diabetes, that.

Even their relationship had started with a bakery. A bit of clumsy flirting on Sonya’s part and—in contrast—a perfect composure on River’s. Back when River had worked at the bakery near their flat, she was a performance art major with a side job as a waitress. Sometimes she worked in the morning. Sometimes afternoon. More often than not at night, since the school took up too much of her time for her to be doing anything else.

There was this one regular customer. The girl had always come with a bunch of papers stacked dangerously high and ordered a latte with extra cream and sugar, sweet and sickening enough to choke a stray pigeon to death, and a croissant, flavors varying every day.

River hadn’t noticed it first, but then this regular customer named Sonya had to act rather … fishy. And dumb. Like, really dumb. She would stand by the counter when River had her back turned, then pretended to contemplate the display of croissant and cheesecake when River faced the counter again. She would prolong her order with “hmmm” and “what about that one bread” and small talk that was lame at best and rubbish at worst.  Sometimes, when River handed her the change, the customer Sonya would purposely brush their fingers together.

River never thought much about it. Some customers were more friendly than others. Maybe it was the case with this one, too. Nothing to fret herself over, surely. A loyal customer was always good news, after all.

Then one time, a Sunday afternoon, the customer Sonya winked at her. On the counter. Right after River handed her her change.

It dawned on her like a ton of bricks. The customer Sonya was flirting with her. Had been.

What the hell.

It irritated her greatly. She would file a report to her manager. Making sure the customer Sonya was kicked out and never set foot in the bakery every again. What a nuisance. She had no time for this.

That kept her on edge for some time. She would trade shifts during the customer Sonya’s usual visit. On the off chance she didn’t succeed, she would pull her cap all the way down to hide her eyes. She kept her words short and clipped. She would slide the change across the counter instead of handing it directly to her. She kept her smile strictly business.

She witnessed the customer Sonya wilted a little day by day, her shoulders sagged, realizing her attempt at courting—what a weird way to phrase it—had taken turns for the worst, that worst being the subject of the courting stepping away from the equation.

As ignorant as it was, River couldn’t help but find the situation amusing. Did the customer Sonya even know that River knew? Probably not. Probably yes. She had better things to think about. There were classes to show up at and money to make and lines to memorize and rehearsals to attend and shows to perform. The customer Sonya and her weird attraction was the last thing on her mind.

Three weeks passed and all was good. The customer Sonya seemed to have given up. No longer prolonged order, lame small talks, asking about weather, asking about her day, or fingers accidentally bruised together. She became subdued and timid.  She wilted like a flower that was snatched before its full blossom. It was rather heartbreaking, and River started to question her decision. Had she been too harsh in rejecting her?

(But she didn’t have any feelings for the customer Sonya. It shouldn’t bother her at all.)

That night, she got a little surprise. While closing up, mopping the floor and lifting the chairs onto the tables and pulling down the rolling door and counting the bills and whatnot with her coworker, she found a crumpled note among the cash. She almost threw it to the bin before noticing the flourish handwriting inside. She opened the note, attention still half on the cashflow book.

Hello, my name is Sonya.

My name is Sonya and I think you’re very attractive interesting lovely.

Hello. I’m Sonya. You might not have taken notice of me, but I have of you. You’re a very … lovely person, if I’m allowed to say that. Holy crap that sounds creepy

I feel like I have crossed some lines. You used to be … not what you are to me right now. You seem offended and displeased. Maybe I’m just imagining things, too. However, I’m sorry for the inconvenience.

If you’re willing, how about I make it up to you with lunch? Or dinner? Maybe Wednesday, after your shift?

Holy crap why am I writing this

I’m sorry I’m bad at this

AH CRAP

Should I write down my number too … no that’d be too aggressive.

River barked a laugh at that. She almost knocked the decorations on the table near her elbow. Her coworker frowned at her and asked what was wrong, and River quickly blamed the crap show on the television, switched on only as background noise. Her coworker nodded and got back to mopping the floor.

The crossed-out parts were clearly meant to be thrown away by the writer. River saw the half-torn pattern separating it from the clear sentences. It was as if the customer Sonya had forgotten to tear it away properly. Maybe she had been in such rush and doubt, unable to think properly. Or maybe it was done purposely. River could only guess.

It was rather cliché, so she did what any other people with the right mind would do. The next time the customer Sonya came round, seemingly cautious and a bundle of nerves more than usual, River handed her her change directly and turned her back immediately. She imagined the disappointment emanating from the customer Sonya. That wouldn’t be long.

She didn’t bother hiding her smile when she heard a low squeal from a certain table. Their eyes met over the counter, and River smiled, briefly, before getting back to the task in hands.

On the back of the customer Sonya’s bills, she had written yes.

It was a fond memory, that one. River shook her head, wondering why on earth she kept being reminded of Sonya throughout the day instead of the banana yogurt.

She contemplated the ice cream container for a moment.

One box wouldn’t hurt.

——

Years after graduation, River had received a bouquet of flowers.

It hadn’t been Valentine’s days. Or her birthday. But it was her first performance, her first-ever stepping stone to the more professional world, one that later in life struck her as her turning point towards the theatrical world.

She was tired and drenched in sweat and probably smelled foul and smiled and desperately needing a shower, yet the last thing in her mind was to go off the stage and have a rest. That day had been filled with her succession of firsts. First stage. First performance. First major role. First flowers. She had never received flowers before. It was also her first-ever being asked out. The sound guy—the guy charged with making sure every talent had a working clip-on and whatnot, with whom she had worked with tirelessly for the past months or so—came up holding a humble bouquet of lilies. She accepted the flowers but not the confession, turning it down politely, saying that she wasn’t looking for a relationship, at the moment.

The sound guy looked disappointed, but no offense was taken. They hugged as two people who had seen their hard work given birth to a fruitful success, and parted for the night.

Yet when Sonya came straight from her office (which River often called her lab, for a practical reason), still clad in her coat with identity card pinned to her shoulder, so late at night River was practically sleepwalking, and asked if River would be interested in going out with her, River didn’t even think twice before saying yes.

It was also her first kiss. Sonya was gentle and sweet and smelled like antiseptic—she had told River earlier that day that she was in charge of examining a trilobite fossil. The kiss was brief and they did it while smiling, standing on the pavement in front of the theater waiting for a cab. It was probably the best day of her life.

On her way back from the third store, River eyed the left side of the road carefully. A plank to a small florist shop came to sight.

She pulled up.

——

From: Sonya

Where are you? Grocery shopping shouldn’t take this long.

To: Sonya

[sent a photo]

From: Sonya

YOU CHEAT.

To: Sonya

Says a girl who forced me out of the flat and asked for some dumb yogurt. Now I’m enjoying this ice cream without you.

Do you know they have a new variant? Chocolate honey. With topping.

From: Sonya

I hate. You.

——

By some miracle, River managed to acquire the banana yogurt at the fourth store. Fourth, for God’s sake. And this one was a coincidence, even. She had stopped at a kebab shop near the gas station, ordering one while texting Sonya whether she would like one, and upon glancing up at the 24-hour minimarket two feet to the left, she saw them: the banana yogurt, standing on the display for everyone to see.

She had never run so fast in her life. Almost barreling into the door and a little kid standing close, she snatched the yogurt from the rack and paid with a card.

She got charged extra for doing so—who even invented this system of minimum purchase?—but she could care less. The yogurt was in her hand and that’s what mattered. She chatted with the kebab shop’s owner as she waited for her order. He was twenty-three. Been working here and there to pay for college, all the while taking care of his two sisters who enrolled for school this year. Parents died since he was barely a teen. 

He reminded her of her early days, so young and desperate and eager and juggle everything all at once. River gave him a generous tip for the story.

All in all, it was a triumphant day, for her. For Sonya too, if counting the damn yogurt.

——

She soon changed her mind, for upon arriving home, the flat was locked.

Great. And without as much as a by your leave from the only other resident of the flat. No text or whatsoever. What on earth was wrong with Sonya today? First, she kicked her out of the flat, forced her to take a trip around the town for a stupid yogurt, and now went out without telling her anything, the exact day River had forgotten her spare key.

Grumbling, she called Sonya. Twice. Both of which went to the voicemail.

The audacity—

River sent her a string of curses via text. She complained and hoped Sonya would meet a snake on her way to whatever-it-is and find a lizard inside her shoe. Feeling better, she proceeded to sit on the balcony along the corridor. She put down the bags of groceries on the floor.

She decided to play Flappy Bird on her phone. Sonya had installed the game years ago, stating that the game would fulfill River’s hunger for challenges and winning. And oh boy, was she absolutely right. Even years after the game went out of the market, River never found it boring, let alone thinking of uninstalling it.

She was on her two hundredth—new record!—when the Bird froze, and Sonya’s name filled the entire screen. It disappeared a second later, the Bird resumed, plonked headfirst into the pipe, and died. Game over.

All because of a single missed call.

That’s it. That was the last straw. She was done. When Sonya came back from whatever urgency occurred in her lab, she would deck her and fling her along with her stupid yogurt outside and left them both to rot on the curb to freeze to death and—

A body tackled her from behind, snapping her out of her thoughts, effectively cutting off her murder plans. River forgot where she would dump the body and how to set up the whole scene as an accident. Two arms wormed their way around her neck, and Sonya was chirping happily about God knows what. River had tuned her out the second their body collided together.

At the warmth and familiar comfort of home, she deflated. She raised one hand to ruffle Sonya’s hair. Sonya was still dangling on her back when River accepted the key and slotted it into the keyhole. 

The door slipped open. The flat was dark, and cold, an indication that whenever Sonya had gone to, it had been some time.

Sonya finally set her neck free. “Have you got the yogurt?”

Because of course the first thing you said to your partner, after hours of annoying the hell out of them, was asking for the damn yogurt.

Having suppressed the urge to squeeze Sonya to death, River placed the bags on the table. She trudged to the living room and plopped face down onto the sofa, mumbling something along the way.

“What’s that?”

She raised her head, enough to repeat what she had said. “Yes, Her Majesty. And some cereals. And the ice creams too—although by now it would’ve melted anyway, store it in the fridge, will you. And the cat plush. And a potted succulent—they’re ridiculously expensive, aren’t they? Now shut it and let me sleep for ten years.”

Even from the living room, she could hear Sonya stifling her laugh. Sonya padded towards her, kneeling beside the sofa, both hands supporting her face. “You went through all those troubles for me?”

“I damn well did,” River huffed, this time not bothering to raise her head. Sonya would have to guess what she was muffling against the pillow. “What time is it anyway—”

“I got you a new pair of contact lenses.”

River shot up. Sonya was smiling smugly. “Sorry?”

“The grey one. The stupidly expensive ones you’ve been eyeing for a month.”

She frowned. “What’s the occasion?”

“Also we have a dinner reservation at seven tonight. Wear your best dress. I fought tooth and nail to book a table in The Eighth Palace. I almost lost the battle, thankfully one of my coworkers had a few strings to pull.”

“You didn’t!”

“Oh, I did.” Sonya studied her face for a moment, waiting for understanding to dawn in.  When nothing happened and River continued to stare at her suspiciously, she sighed. “Happy birthday.”

The silence stretched between them as River stared, and stared, and stared some more as she seemed unable to proceed, before her face scrunched up into one mix of exasperation and fondness. “Is that why you kicked me out so early in the morning, even though you knew it’s my day off?”

“Uh-huh,” Sonya grinned. “I couldn’t afford to ruin the surprise just because someone decided to eavesdrop my phonecalls and tracked where I was dashing off to, could I?”

“I came home last night at freaking two. That’s technically morning.”

“I know.”

“You woke me up at seven.”

“I know.”

“I’m so tired I can barely feel my limbs.”

“I know. That’s why I’m impressed you actually went with it, even going the whole nine yards to buy other stuff.”

“I wish your dumb yogurt company goes into bankruptcy.”

“That’s a whole load of unemployment you’re wishing for. The company has three headquarters across the country, with their gross domestic product—”

“Dear God, not this again.” River pressed the heel of her hand against her eye. “I can’t handle statistics being thrown my way after today. And not on my birthday.”

Sonya pursed her lips, looking rather unsure now. “Is it okay? Did I overdo it? Am I forgiven?”

“You insufferable prick,” grumbled River, with feeling, but she leaned forward nonetheless, and placed a kiss on her forehead. “I’m not mad at you in the first place.”

Sonya hummed happily.

——

Stupid Sonya.

Stupid Sonya and her damn mission. Her good-natured love for long-dead animals—or fossils, whichever it was. Her damn presence lingering in the flat after months of leaving.

River looked at the calendar.

Sonya had departed six months ago for her year-long mission in the Siberian tundra. Leaving River, on her birthday today, stabbing a cake she didn’t even like. (But her co-actor had given it to her, how could she refuse?) 

She’s not the sweet-tooth Sonya was. Not even close. She loathed sugar while Sonya would’ve loved this.

River held back from toppling the cake over the table. She would’ve sent Sonya a picture if it wasn’t for the fact that they’re not talking anymore.

Their flat had never felt this empty.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *