As the headlights flickered in the dark, Mimi’s shadow flashed on the pale walls of their townhouse like some sort of cartoonish graffiti as she reversed her Ford Figo. The driveway seemed to be thinning as she jerked the car into its parking spot right next to her husband’s. She must have dropped off for a second: an alarm went off and she came to her sober senses when her forehead knocked against the steering wheel.

“Fuck! Fuck!” she yelled, realising that she had bashed right into her husband’s car. With a slightly bleeding nose, she turned off the ignition and scrabbled for her purse in the dark. Her hand came across a half-empty bottle of whiskey, probably from the night before, or the nights before that one.

“Oh well,” she murmured under her stale breath clouded with endless nights of drinking.

Slowly, managing her balance, she slid her slender body out of the car and dragged her feet. She was staggering, the bottle of whiskey swaying in her loose grip casually making its way to her dry lips. They held traces of matte red lipstick that now had cracks and faults in it.

Her husband Noel popped out just in time to switch off the car’s alarm before it woke up the kids he had struggled so much to put to bed. This had been going on for a few months now and he was beginning to adjust to the situation in their household, which was once brimming with love and laughter. Now he had to retire to a cold and empty bed.

He held Mimi in an attempt to balance her, and time seemed to pause in that moment. He searched her eyes for the innocent loving woman that he had married four years ago: a career-driven woman and, most of all, a family-orientated one. Then, within a split second, Mimi shrugged off his grip, giving him the cold shoulder and a deadly look, warning him to back off.

“The girls were waiting for you; they had good news for you,” Noel said, facing the other way. He hoped his words would make her divorce her night-long drinking sprees, which had become a norm nowadays.

“Noel, shh…I will see them in the morning!” she laughed, and gulped the last of her whiskey, shutting her eyes as the warmth washed down the lumps of sadness, hate, and loneliness from the four years that she’d been married.

Finally the whiskey settled in her belly and filled the empty spots that her husband had failed to, except with two baby girls who were her only reason for staying now. But even the girls could feel the rift between them and their mother; every netball game she turned down just for a beer had torn their hearts into pieces that their father was working on repairing now.

Mimi threw the bottle in the garden and dragged her feet across the house into her and Noel’s room for the first time in three months. She stood at the door, bewildered by the mess, and then something on the wall sparked her interest. She zoomed in on their wedding picture.

“Tsk.” She staggered to it and banged it on top of the dresser where she had once made up her face for her husband who wanted to come home to a perfect wife.

Noel crept behind her with his car keys still in his hand. “Again, Mimi, look at the damn time…it’s midnight, for heaven’s sake — we’re supposed to be in bed together by this time…making love.” He held his breath.

“Well, there’s the bed, why don’t you crawl in and jerk yourself to sleep?”

Her response landed like a thorn in Noel’s heart. He sighed and went straight to her. “What’s your problem? I’m trying so hard to understand this phase of yours that is destroying our marriage!” he shouted in her face, the echo of his voice hitting the ceiling.

“What marriage, Noel?” She stood up and pushed him out of her way.

Noel watched her stumble across the room, drenched in pain, the dim lights mirroring his feelings. A second later, he felt his blood boil and anger clogging his throat. Like a bullet, he dashed for the door and stopped her from making her way out.

“What is it that you mean? Mimi…what are you implying?”

She stood numb, staring into empty space.

“Answer me, woman…dammit!” There was fire in his eyes.

She lunged into the hallway and started vomiting. “Fuck you, Noel!” She wiped her mouth with her elbow.

Tell us: what do you think will happen next?