PS : This blog post is in response to the daily Post’s one-word prompt – Plop
The chemistry textbook lay open on page 154 , Chapter 8 – Colour Changing Experiments.
She watches poker faced as her excited eight year old adds the liquid phenolphthalein into the glass of water, painstakingly , not wanting to spill any. Sanju was a fastidious child.
‘My little Einstein.’
Plop.Plop.Plop. The drops fall in quick succession.
‘Ma, is it 10 drops already?’ Sanju asks.
She shakes her head. ‘Keep going. A few drops more. I’ll tell you when you can stop.’
Plop. Plop. Plop.
‘Why is dad so late today, Ma?’
‘Probably getting drunk at a bar somewhere.’ A voice inside her quips. She purses her lips and ignores the boy’s question.
Plop. Plop. Plop.
‘That’s enough, Sanju. Now, give the water a gentle stir.’
She dolefully eyes the water in the beaker. It strangely reminds her of her husband on his rare, sober days – clear, lucid, odorless and insipid.
‘What next, Ma?’ His face is flushed with growing excitement.
She sprinkles some sodium carbonate in an empty wine glass. ‘Now, pour the water in here.’
With a rueful smile she watches him empty the water into the wine glass. The students in her class always loved the next part. She gives it a good stir .
The water turns blood red. Sanju claps with undisguised glee. ‘ Yay! I turned water into blood, wait till I tell dad!’ he yells.
There is a sound of a car pulling into the driveway. A door is flung open.
‘ Dad, look at this, I turned water to blood!’
She looks into her husband’s disoriented, blood shot eyes – dark red and murky as the liquid in Sanju’s hands . A cold fear claws at her insides. There is an unmistakable stench in his ragged breath. It was going to be a long night.