His wife just sat at the far end of the dining table, as far away from the door as possible, sipping her tea and stared into space. No emotion discernible from her. No words were spoken. The kids were nowhere to be seen. Jim knew they were in the house as he heard them yet he did not seek them out. Its just too much to deal with, unless if they were there when he started taking his things out. They were not. Perhaps the kids themselves do not want to face the situation. Perhaps the kids themselves thought better to just avoid the goodbyes.
Without a word, Jim pulled the door close behind him, starts the car and drove through the intricate custom made wrought iron automatic gate. The one that he spent a fortune to replace just a couple months ago. He felt empty as he passed the gate. His practicality shouted at him for wasting money on the gate. Yeah right. If only he can see the future. With that thought, he focused to the future. Going through a checklists of things that needed to be done for him to resume the single life which he left more than a decade ago. He had rented a three bedroom condo near his workplace. It had cost a bomb which he justifies as being within walking distance to his office. He needs to write to all the financial institutions on his change of address. He's undecided on what to do to all his wife's supplementary card. She never used it anyway but insisted on having it. Just for show, Jim assumed. Her credit rating is as good as his and she has her own line of credit. Maybe he will let her keep one, for emergencies and in good faith.
As he enters his new condo an overwhelming sense of relief came over him. The kind of relief that came after a difficult decision is made. Jim has always hated making decisions and the separation has been the most difficult one so far. Yet, it is done, now he is faced with its consequences. Picking up where he left off more than a decade ago. The condo came fully furnished, yet it felt empty. For it is only inanimate objects that greeted him. He took his suitcases and put them in the master bedroom. He did not bother to unpack. He has the rest of the week to do that. He has taken leave from work to sort out his new life, so no hurry. He went to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Open the larder and realised that he had not gotten any groceries. There's nothing in there except for a few bags of nescafe, instant soups and some crackers which the real estate agent had most likely, kindly provided.
Getting groceries, that will be a new experience that he will have to learn how to do for he fancies to cook for himself. But not now, now he just wants to do nothing. Its not just the groceries. He will have to get his phones connected, Internet line, cable TV and worst of all he will have to manage his laundry too. How he wished there are instant clothing, just wear and discard. The kettle came to a boil, he ripped open the nescafe bag and poured a sachet into a mug. Rummaged the drawers for a spoon and walked to the balcony, the agent called it "lanai", fancy name for a partially open structure jutting out from a building. He went back in to search for an ashtray as there were none on the balcony. Failed to find one he uses another mug as his ashtray. He lit his Marlboro Lights and inhaled deeply. Another habit which he is rediscovering after more than a decade. As he subsequently inhaled, the tobacco gave him a certain pleasant light headedness. Instant coffee and Marlboro brought him pleasure. He just sat there looking at nothing in particular. Even his thoughts seems to have abandoned him. Neither past nor future invaded his space. For that moment, its just him, the bittersweet nescafe and puffs of smoke from his smoldering cigarette.