The pasta's growing cold in the saucepan, chili flakes congealing in the oil. But he made it for her. Wants her to have it, wants her to walk through the door and stretch her legs out as she falls across the sofa. She'll sigh and start talking, commenting as she eats that the pasta he has made really is the best so far. He'll find her lips, they'll sting slightly from the oil and the fact she will add hot sauce, because she always does. But he won't mind because in every kiss he will be reading something into, will be searching for love as he skims his tongue across her teeth.
She isn't coming home, so he checks his phone again, considers ringing her. He thinks better of it, she might be working late. He makes himself some toast, but forgets it so that when he spreads the butter he's just a second too late and the butter doesn't melt the way he wanted it to.
He picks up his phone again. Checks her social media, then puts his phone back inside his pocket. He hears the click of the front door and relief washes over him.
'Sandra?' he says.
She hums in response. She comes through, her expression empty, avoiding his eye.
'I made pasta,' he says. Then he leaves, for a second, pretending that he is happy and unworried, that he just needs the loo.
When he comes back she is sitting on the sofa. He kisses her lips and she doesn't taste of anything, and he realises she hasn't touched the pasta.
'We need to talk,' she says gently.