The determinant

“You’ve been up all night?” Asked Andrew. “You don’t have to work so hard, you know.” Esther’s colleague had popped into her workspace with his chai latte. She didn’t reply right away. She was focussed on the micro organisms, and trying to discern a behavioural pattern.

“Well, it’s my job, Andrew.” She replied tearing her tired eyes from the microscope and rubbing them with her fingers. “But you’re right, I should get home. See what the kids are up to.”

“Damn straight I’m right.” Andrew bobbed his head raising his latte as a gesture to her.

“You’re a single mom, you don’t have to hustle so much. Why don’t you get your ex-husband to split finances with you? You’re raising the kids, and it’s only fair that he does his duty as father and man.”

“What’s that got to do with anything?” Esther raised her eyebrows at Andrew. She was tired, but not unstable. She knew what he hinted at.

“Well, it’s the man’s duty to bring home the money. You don’t have to.” He shrugged. Esther’s expression hardened. Andrew didn’t realise what he was saying.

“I’m a scientist, Andrew. I won’t compromise my duty just because I’m a woman.”

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