The Day After Yesterday by Felicia Yap received a Special Commendation in the First 500 Words of a Novel category at the Fresher Writing Prize 2016. Felicia has recently secured a publishing deal for the novel so we’re thrilled to have included the first 500 words in our 2016 anthology, along with all our other shortlisted entries. This can be purchased via our Books page.
The Day After Yesterday
‘Happiness is a process. Unhappiness is a state.’
~ Diary of Sophia Ayling
A man is whimpering in the kitchen. He is also blocking my way to the counter where my iDiary lies. I squint; he’s clutching his left hand and wincing in pain. Blood is dripping from his forefinger. He’s surrounded by the remains of a teapot.
‘What happened?’ I ask.
‘It slipped from my hand and broke,’ he says.
‘Let me have a look,’ I say, stepping around ceramic shards.
As I move towards him, the gold ring on his left hand mocks me with a glint. It causes the main facts I’ve learnt about my husband over the years to spin back to mind. Name: Mark Henry Evans. Age: 42. Occupation: Novelist hoping to be the next MP for South Cambridgeshire. We got married at 12:30 pm on 30 September 1995 in the chapel of Trinity College. Nine people attended our wedding. Mark’s parents had refused to come. The cost of the wedding was £678.29. We last had sex more than two years ago, at 22:34 on 11 January 2013.
I haven’t yet worked out if these multiple facts I’ve retained about my husband should make me feel bad, sad — or mad.
‘Tried to catch it mid-fall,’ says Mark. ‘But it hit the dishwasher and smashed.’
I study the gash on his forefinger. It’s almost an inch long. I lift my eyes to Mark’s face, taking in the heavy creases above his brow. The troubled wrinkles fanning out from his eyes. His twisted lips. I remember him tossing about in bed last night, as if he was pursued by something in his dreams.
‘Looks nasty,’ I say. ‘I’ll get a plaster.’
Turning my back on Mark, I hurry up the stairs. Fact: The First Aid kit is stored in the cabinet next to the bathroom mirror. Before I reach for it, I pause in front of my reflection. The eyes staring back at me are different from the haunted eyes I saw yesterday. Today’s face has clearer pupils. Yet its cheeks are swollen. The skin around its eyes is puffy.
I cried myself to sleep last night. In fact, I spent most of the day in bed.
I wonder why. I stare hard at my distended image in the mirror, willing the relevant facts to come to my head. But the reasons behind yesterday’s misery are flitting beyond reach, like the wings of an elusive butterfly. I only remember hiding, sobbing into my pillow and refusing to eat. I grimace in defeat; the face in the mirror frowns back. Yesterday’s unhappiness must be caused by something that happened two days ago. But what?
Mark might know the answer. Fact: Unlike me, he remembers both yesterday and the day before that. This is what makes him different to the rest of us. And this is why he thinks he’s superior.
I don’t recall what occurred two days ago. Because I can’t.
I only remember what happened yesterday.