(Kinda connected to Breathe)
Sheena was just shallow enough to love listening to BBC Radio One and just complex enough to wonder whether the songs were not a little trite. She was half enjoying the pre-orgasmic sounds of Selena Gomez claiming that she could not keep her hands to herself when the phone rang.
Odd that someone should be calling her in the day. She almost never got calls then. Even the salespeople and survey-mongers and scammers seemed to have got to message that she was not interested in their wares.
She glanced at the display. ‘Mum’. Curiouser and curiouser, she thought.
Since her dad had left the ‘family home’, she had taken the deliberate step of changing the displayed name from Home to Mum. For one, it didn’t feel like home without them all being there, and for another – she had made her own nest in the snug apartment, just one and a half important miles down the road.
She picked up the phone, still slightly greasy from last night’s pizza. ‘Ugh’, she thought and reached for a piece of kitchen roll.
“Hello, Mum.” A cheerful voice, despite the lingering hangover. She was always glad to get a call from her mother, even unexpected ones.
A male voice. It took a long moment to reorient her mind and connect the gruff voice with her father. The burst of pleasure she felt took her by surprise.
“Hi, Dad – how are you?” She could hear the smile in her own voice. ‘Stop grinning,’ she thought to herself, ‘this man left you and your mum for …’ For what? She wasn’t sure. Neither of them would talk about it to her. They didn’t even seem to talk to each other about it.
Something in his voice – sorrow, sadness – something else, eclipsed her smile like a dark cloud.
“Dad? What’s wrong? What is it? Where’s mum?” Piercing alarm. Panic rising. A sense of …
Hold on, I’m just …
You can’t do this.
Well, for one thing, no father would tell his daughter
that her mother had just died over the phone. Ever.
Hmm – good point.
And aside from that. you can’t keep on thinking
about your mum dying. I mean, she’ll probably
be around for decades yet. Tell you what, why
don’t you just give her a call? She’d like that.
Yeah, actually, you’re right.
It’d be better than continually having her
pass away in these peculiar little stories.
Oh. I never thought about it like that.
Okay – I’ll give her a call tomorrow, okay?