Sherry robotically tapped at her phone as she waited for the bus, unsuccessfully holding back tears. She scrolled through status updates and wiped away droplets as they smattered the screen. A headache was fast approaching, creeping up from the back of her skull. Quick footsteps came up to her from behind.
“Hey, Sherry!” her coworker Ramona called out as she jogged to catch up. Sherry looked up to see her bus stuck at a red light; she would have to talk to Ramona. Sherry took a deep breath, turned, and plastered a fake smile onto her face.
“Hey, Ramona. Don’t you drive home?” Sherry asked, hoping to deflect the inevitable. Ramona tilted her head to the side like a confused dog, smiling awkwardly.
“Yeah, but I mean… Look, I’m sorry about Robert. He was…” Ramona paused for a moment, taking the time to choose the right words. Finally, she huffed out, “He was a shithead. You didn’t deserve to get yelled at like that, it wasn’t your fault the proposal was submitted late.”
Sherry shrugged, keeping the smile on her face and refusing to let Ramona see her cry fresh tears.
“It is what it is” she replied as the bus pulled up behind her. “See you tomorrow, Ramona.”
Ramona nodded pityingly, and waved goodbye as Sherry boarded the bus.
The front door slammed shut behind Sherry. Her headache had grown exponentially over the bus ride, Robert’s chastising voice playing over and over in her head like a sick song. The pressure was moving forward into her sinuses, she needed to get to the kitchen.
Sherry stumbled through the house, lurching against pieces of furniture for support. The pounding in her head was growing, her heartbeat reverberating around like a ringing church bell. She turned the corner and fell against the kitchen sink, blindly reaching for the drying rack where she had left the large glass jar.
Her fingers gripped the jar and dragged it into the sink with a clatter. Bracing herself against the sink’s edge, Sherry turned and held the side of her head over the jar. She reached up and pressed the recessed button behind her ear, undoing the latch. Flipping the ear to the side, she pressed a second button just below the first.
Neon blue fluid poured out and into the jar. Sherry sighed at the desperately needed release in pressure, and she was careful to drain every last drop.
Once the jar filled and the flow stopped, Sherry carefully wiped any spillage off her neck, then pushed her ear back into place with a click. The jar’s lid was still in the drying rack, and she took a moment to towel it off before tightly screwing it into place.
With the jar in one hand, she pulled the nearby refrigerator door open with the other. The blue-filled container snugly fit on the shelf next to rows and rows of other glowing blue-filled jars.
Sherry shut the refrigerator door and went to bed. Blissfully calm.