I turn around, incredulously, and come face to face with her. Gabriel.
Sorry, can I help you?
Who do you think you are, putting moves on Jack? We're clearly both still in to each other. Aren't we Jack?
Jack groans, and turns around to look at her.
No, Gabriel. I'm not sure where you get off, sending me gifts, and your damn flirty messages, and now, talking to her like that. But we were done a long time ago. I'm done. Just leave me alone for chris'sake. This is my girlfriend Jane, and we were trying to enjoy a drink, so would you kindly just bugger off?
Oh, is that so Jack? Well I hope you and your little slut have a lovely evening together.
She steps towards me, martini in hand. She swaggers, clearly intoxicated. Giving me a look that could kill, she tips the glass onto the front of my blouse. I stare at her, bewildered, unsure of what to do.
Alright, thats quite enough! Jane, love, I'm sorry, just leave it alone. Gabriel, get the hell out of here. Now!
Jack is now standing, off of his stool. His fists are clenched, and I think I can see a vein, throbbing dangerously in his forehead. Gabriel stumbles forward, kissing him hard on the mouth, clearly out of spite. Jack pushes her off of him, and then wipes his lips with his sleeve. He takes my hand and we walk briskly towards, and out the door.
I knew that there would be some sort of problem if we went through with this! I knew it!
Well it was your bloody idea to go in there. Remember, 'put on a brave face Jack'. Lot of good that did me!
I flinch as he mocks me, it's not the Jack I know. It's not my fault he has a mentally unstable ex girlfriend. Although I do think, I hope that she'll be leaving us alone from now on.
Well you know what? It's not my fault your ex girlfriend is a total lunatic. Look what she did to my blouse! I don't have the money to be getting this dry cleaned! I know it's not your fault, but I just want to go home Jack. Please, lets just go.
Fine, whatever, get in the car.
No, I'll walk. Thanks a lot.
Jane, I'm sorry. Please get in the car love.
Don't 'please get in the car love' me. You've been a complete ass tonight.
Well maybe you shouldn't have tried to bloody well kiss me then eh?
I clearly, didn't know what I was thinking. It was a mistake. I'm sorry.
Yeah? Well sorry doesn't always cut it does it?
Why do you care so much Jack? We've talked about this. I thought we decided it wasn't going to work.
Whatever, forget about it. I'm leaving. If you want a ride, get in the car. If not, I'll see you at work tomorrow.
I'll walk, thank you.
He opens the door and ducks into the drivers seat, avoiding my gaze. Starting the engine, he peels out of the parking lot without a second glance. I start to walk towards the exit, it's chilly out, and the wind is quite harsh. I remember I left my jacket in Jack's car. It's only a 15 minute walk back to the apartment, but I can't risk getting the flu and missing any more work. So I call a cab. The ride is a bit blurry, I'm not ever sure if I tipped the driver a sufficient amount, but I'm finally home. I draw myself a nice, hot bath, and the let the night dissolve and drift away with the steam.
Chapter Four: Disquiet
to deprive of calmness, equanimity, or peace
The following two days, after that night at the pub, proved to be rather unproductive, and frankly, a bit of a disaster. Jack never did apologize for the way he treated me, and I still wasn't ready to live it down. It really wasn't a huge deal, we'd had spats before. I think it was just the whole move on my part; maybe he was expecting me to apologize. Perhaps, we were both just waiting for the other person to apologize. Everything has been very cordial, very business between us. No laughs, no pulling faces from across the room. Maybe I'll go in and talk to him before the end of the day, we'll see. On top of that, the printer keeps buggering up, and the server has been randomly shutting down, so I haven't been able to make any of my deadlines. Therefore not reaching my quota, therefore not creating endorsements, therefore not gaining clients, therefore, losing money. I'm so glad that it's finally Friday. But I'm also dreading that ridiculous date tonight. At least it's at a nicer pub, on the opposite end of town. Maybe it won't be too bad. I have absolutely no idea what to expect from it. Maybe I shouldn't expect anything, and then there's no way I can be disappointed. Sounds like a good plan to me.
I drum my pen on the desk, in time with the second hand on the new clock I've purchased. The minutes are passing much quicker today. Maybe I should be stressed out and overly anxious more often. Only one hour left in the day, and then I'm free for the weekend. The week has been pretty hellish, so it'll be a nice break.
I push out my chair and stand up. I need to talk to Jack. We can't be at each other like this forever, it doesn't even matter anymore. What happened two nights ago was a trivial thing. I make my way to his cubicle, he doesn't appear to be busy. But seems slightly on edge, rubbing his forehead, and squeezing his eyes shut. I contemplate walking away, forgetting about the whole thing. I start to back up slowly. He's opened his eyes, he's seen me. It's too late.
Oh hello, I was just coming over to...see if the air conditioning was circulating properly. Yes, thats it. And it seems to be, so I'm going to go back to my office now...See you.
I'm sorry. About the other night, I was a jackass, and it was completely uncalled for. We were both a little drunk, I wasn't acting like myself.
No, don't be sorry. I'm sorry. About...yeah.
Don't be. Anyways, we good?
Yes. Yes, we're good. I should really get back to work though Jack, and then I've got to rush off to that stupid meeting.
Oooooh you mean your date?
You're relentless! It's not a date. It's a meeting.
Whatever helps you sleep at night love, see you later.
He grins at me, seeing through me completely. That's Jack though, he can read me like a book.
The last hour of the day is going by relatively fast. I'm still anxious, about tonight of course. What if this person is a total psycho. What if I don't even know who it is, and it ends up being a stalker. I quickly dismiss the idea. I shouldn't flatter myself, who'd follow me? Still, I am a bit skeptical about the whole affair; I wish someone was coming with me. I pick up the phone. Dial. It rings. One time, two times, three times.
It's a man's voice.
Hi, is Kara around?
Course, just a sec.
Hi! Whooooo was that?
Oh just some bloke I met last night.
Ahh, one of those hey? Where does he get off answering your phone?
No kidding. I don't know what the hell. I probably told him I loved him or something absurd like that last night, in the midst of.. well, yeah..I was drunk. But it doesn't matter, in about 10 minutes, or maybe after another go, I'm going to pull the, 'gotta go to work, I'll call you later', and then get the hell out of there. He was too needy. Completely selfish in bed, it was just ridiculous. I really don't know why he's still here.
You're terrible! I don't even know what to say. Was he at least good?
No, I faked twice. Both times, it was allllllmost, and then he'd just stop. It was totally off. Never again, I don't even know if I'll give him the courtesy of a morning shag. I'll just end up frustrated.
I just laugh.
Anyways, what's up?
Still at work. Jesus, I wish that two thirty in the afternoon was morning for me. You're ridiculous.
I do what I can.
Anyways, I've got a bit of a sitch.
Yeah, I come into work a few days ago, and guess what was on my desk?
Thats the thing, I have no idea. I didn't recognize the writing, but all there was was flowers, and a map of downtown, and someone circled the higher end pub, and wrote seven fifteen PM; take a chance. I mean, isn't that a little dodgey?
Well, perhaps a bit. But you should still go! You never go out anymore, who knows, it could be to your advantage.
Yeah yeah, I know, thats what Jack said too. I've already decided to go, but I just have a favour to ask of you.
What is it?
Well, can you just call me or something, at about nine? Just to make sure I haven't been whisked away to a foreign country or anything, and perhaps to give me a quick escape if I need it.
Whisk you away? Maybe they'll take you to a brothel in China, and we'll never hear from you again. Gooooood riddance.
Hey! Don't joke, it's not funny. That sort of shit actually happens.
I know, I know.
Anyways, can you do that for me? Please?
Yes, of course. I promise I will.
Thanks Kar, you're a doll.
I'll talk to you later! Have fun toniiiiiiggghhht!
I'll try! Have a good one, good luck with the man hey?
Ah, I totally forgot about him. I think he's roaming about my kitchen; thinks he can just eat all my bloody food now. I should go, see you later.
I hang up the phone and shake my head. She always had someone on the go. I wish I had someone to shag, even if they were terrible, and selfish. Well, maybe not. I don't know. Fifteen minutes had past, forty five to go. I still have so much to do, my mind has been so preoccupied today. I decide to leave it until tomorrow, but that I should at least check my email.
* * *
The air is brisk, crisp leaves of reds and oranges swirl around my feet as I make my way to the car. Opening the door, I slide into the drivers seat and put my key into the ignition. Suddenly, there is a tap on the glass. An old beggar lady is standing outside, motioning for me to roll down the window. I roll it down just a crack, making sure the doors are locked. You can't take any chances in this city.
Could you spare a bit o' change love? I 'aven't eaten a meal in three days now.
She holds up three fingers. They are covered in dirt; grime under her finger nails. She probably hasn't had a wash in three days either.
Well, I don't have any coins on me, but I do have plastic. Let me buy you a sandwich from the delicatessen mum.
Oh God bless you love, thank you so much.
It's not a problem, really, lets just hurry, I have a meeting to get ready for soon.
A great smile spreads across her creased face. It's really the least I could do, I could be in that situation myself one day. You never know, one fire, an accident, and I could be out on the streets.
We walk over to the shop, and go in through the doors. People stare, I order her a meat sandwich of sorts, she thanks me again. I get back into my car and drive to my apartment.
One hour later, I'm staring into my mirror, wondering how the hell I'm going to pull myself together for a date tonight. I'm a bloody wreck; my hair is limp, my eyeliner is smudged, my skin feels hot and blotchy. I decide a shower might be a good idea. I'll be cutting it pretty close to being on time, but I'd rather feel clean and confident.
I turn the handle, and water pours from the faucet. Its steaming, hot, inviting. I pull the stopper, and drops sprinkle from the shower head. I test the water with one hand. Perfect. I undress quickly, my clothes falling in a heap around my feet, and step into the bathtub. The water droplets envelope my body, caressing it, pounding on it. I use my favourite smelling body scrub, exfoliating gently. I work shampoo and conditioner into my hair, moaning like one of those women on an Herbal Essences commercial. It doesn't really feel that great, and it definitely doesn't induce an orgasm, but it smells incredible.
I finish showering and then step out, patting myself dry with a white fluffy towel. I drop the towel and turn to look at myself in the mirror. I look a million times better. I should just be wet all the time. Turning to the side I observe my body. I'm relatively thin, my breasts are round and decently sized. They look nice in profile. My thighs could probably use a couple lunges, but I'm not too concerned. I don't look terrible, but apparently I'm not very hot on the market as of current. Picking up the towel, I wrap myself up and get my makeup kit from the drawer. I will accentuate my eyes a bit more for tonight, smoky is very in right now.
In front of my closet, I try to figure out what to wear. Black, mysterious; red, sexy; white, innocent; blue, brings out my eyes; green, earthy and inviting. I go for a combination. A nice black dress, with a corset style front, and a white pearl necklace. I look at myself in the mirror. I feel rather pretty. Hopefully my date agrees.
After gussying myself up, I grab my keys and rush for the door. I have fifteen minutes to get to the pub, and it takes twenty five to drive there. Some people are compulsive liars, I am compulsively late.
On the elevator, I pray furiously as the cart passes Cruella's floor. It continues on. Perhaps there is a God. The elevator smells like piss today, there's some foreign grime on the mirrors, the light flickers. I really need to get out of this hellhole. The cart lurches to a stop as it reaches the lobby; I feel my stomach escape me. The doors slowly open, I push past them, and make my way out of the building.
Chapter Five: Coup De Main
a sudden action without warning
The drive there is quick, most likely quicker than legal. I get to the pub on time, regardless. It seems quite busy tonight, I have trouble finding a place to park. Inside, the air is warm, the lights are dim. There is a din of chatter, mixed with smooth, sultry jazz emanating from a dark corner where a live band is playing. I hadn't been here in ages, I'd forgotten how nice the atmosphere is.
I look around blindly for anyone that I might recognize. My heart is beating out of my chest, my head is screaming at me to turn around and leave. I try to ignore the noise. Instead, I focus on the faces of people waiting for tables. A couple sits on the bench, their heads together, talking in low tones. Beside them, a man sits by himself. He has glossy black hair, brown, piercing eyes. He is slightly pale, but in a way that is breathtaking in contrast to his dark features. He is wearing black dress pants, a black button up shirt, and a burgundy silk tie. He is almost too perfect, as if someone has taken him out of a great painting. The people beside him look plain and lifeless in comparison. He looks up, and I notice that I am still observing him, He catches my eye. I look away.
My heart stops. How does he know my name? And even more, why would he be talking to me?
He stands up, reaches his hand forward, and takes mine in his.
It's a pleasure to meet you, my name is Damien.
His smile is captivating, his eyes delve deep into mine.
I'm sorry, do I know you from somewhere?
No, not quite.
The flowers, how did you get my work address?
I grasp for words, I can hardly find any.
Well, lets just say that I got a recommendation from someone close to you.
I asked, even though I was sure I already knew the answer.
Lets not waste time with idle chatter, our table is waiting. Clearly, you are interested, you did show up didn't you? So it doesn't really matter does it?
No, I suppose you're right. I'm sorry, I'm just slightly confused.
A smile flashes across his face.
Well lets just see how the evening plays out, shall we?
He turns to the hostess.
I believe we're ready.
Perfect, I can take you right this way.
She barely gives me a sideways glance, and then leads us through the maze of tables and chairs. The din grows louder, we keep walking forward. We turn the corner.
A large grin stretches over my face as I realize what has just happened. I look around and see over twenty faces that I recognize. I turn back to Damien, laughing.
But then who are you?
Sweetie, that's my partner. Damien's gay.
Yeah, it was a set-up.
I look over, and see Jerry, and Arlene. Of course, Jerry. Why hadn't I thought of that? I turn back to Damien.
It's true then?
He lightly grabs my chin with his thumb and forefinger.
Yes love, it's true. You had the hots for me didn't you?
Very unconvincing. I go and take a seat next to Jack. He pulls my chair out, and kisses me on the cheek.
Happy birthday love, we got you good didn't we?
Yes! But thank you, even though my birthday isn't for another two days.
I laugh, and give his arm a small squeeze.
So how about getting this party started eh?
Everyone lifts their glass, cheerses, and then tips it back. The drinks continue to pour. The night, and my head are lost in the dull chink of glasses hitting the table, and the slow jazz coaxes me into a peaceful blur.
* * *
The distant clamor of plates and cutlery interrupts my dreams. Slowly, I open my eyes. The sun is shining through my bedroom window, casting an orange light on my bedsheets. I am covered from the waist down, the comforter has been flipped over beside me, and the sheets are crumpled. I bring a hand up to my face and rub my eyes. I notice that I am not wearing any clothing. Absolutely nothing. I try to recall what happened the previous night, all that comes to my mind is a sea of faces. Arlene, Damien, Kara, Jack, Jerry...Jack. My mind quickly flashes to him kissing my cheek. My head is spinning, jumping to conclusions. Again, there's the sound of scraping cutlery, and a dull sizzle. I hastily get out of bed, my body disagrees. I sit back down on the edge. I have a huge headache, but thats not the only place I ache. I start to panic. I throw on panties and a large t-shirt, that hangs just above my knees, and make my way to the kitchen.
The aroma of bacon and eggs wafts through the air. Jack is standing shirtless at the stove. The table is set for two.
He turns around and faces me; his face lights up.
Morning dear! I thought you were going to sleep forever, I didn't want to wake you though. You look beautiful, by the way.
He comes over and kisses me softly on the forehead.
Okay, cut the shit. What happened last night Jack?
I say this in the most endearing way possible, adding a laugh for effect. I know something's up. He looks at me sheepishly.
You see, that's the thing. I don't remember. All I remember is that the drinks kept coming, and we were all doing shots, and then I woke up here. And judging by the state that we were in this morning, I think it's pretty safe to put two and two together.
My stomach lurches, I run to the bathroom. I vomit profusely, feeling terrible for the timing. This was not a reaction to the news, but evidently because a few to many last night. I flush, and my mind jumps to another issue. My heart starts pounding, I dare to lean over and look in the trash bin beside the toilet. My breathing slows, I breathe a sigh of relief. On top of the garbage is a single condom, discarded neatly. Or at least as neatly as possible in the given circumstances. I walk over to the sink, and brush my teeth and hair. I look at myself in the mirror, in disbelief.
You naughty fox.
I shake my head, and then slowly walk back into the kitchen where Jack is standing, looking concerned about my sudden flee from the room.
Sorry, last night just caught up with me.
It's fine, are you okay
Yes, I'm fine.
So now what?
Well, this isn't the first time this is happened.
You've got a point.
Jack, I want this. I've always wanted this.
So do I Jane, but I also wanted to remember it.
He looks at me, deep in my eyes. I feel ashamed, though I shouldn't.
I'm sorry, I didn't mean for things to happen this way.
Well, what do you say we make up for it?
He steps towards me, and puts one hand around my waist, pulling me tight against his body. He smells of a mixture of gin and cologne. His other hand finds a place behind my neck, and he gently tilts my head back and presses his lips against mine. They're warm and soft and slightly hesitant. I kiss him back, he reciprocates, this time with more intensity. He breathes in deeply, and lightly nibbles my bottom lip. I open my mouth, and he slips his tongue in caressing mine. We're both gasping for air, clutching at each other, kissing deeper with each passing second. His hand slides up my shirt. He pulls it over my head, exposing my breasts. His fingers trace lines on my back then digs in pulling my bare skin against his. Our chests collide, the heat doubling. He then begins to kiss down my neck, I tilt my head back and let a small moan escape my lips. This only encourages him to be more aggressive, his mouth moves to my breasts.
He kisses them, cupping them with his hands. He bites lightly at my nipples, tracing circles around them with his tongue.
Oh, Jack, yes.
I'm lost for words, I can hardly string them together. I begin to breathe heavily, and I can feel a familiar want between my legs. I slowly move backwards; still holding him close to my flushed skin. I feel the edge of the breakfast table, cool against my lower back. I push myself up onto the surface, and Jack leans into me, standing between my legs. We're both breathing equally heavy now, and I can see the desire, smoldering in his brown eyes. His right hand wanders delicately down my stomach, making my skin tingle wherever it touches. I sigh. He looks at me. He knows what I want. I'm being entirely selfish, but this doesn't happen often, and I feel the need to indulge. He runs his hand under the elastic waistline of my panties. Gently rubbing, in slow circles. I cling onto him, his mouth covering mine, muffling any noises that I might make. My body jerks as he slips two fingers inside of me. My breathing is ragged as I rock against him. Then, his eyes meet mine, and as if I could sense what was in his head, I hear the word “now”.
I use my feet to hook and pull down his boxers. They fall around his feet. His fingers shift slightly as he steps out of them, causing a husky sigh to build in to back of my throat. I can't wait much longer, he's speeding up.
It's barely audible, but my one word was enough. He leans in, looking at me determinedly.
* * *
A cold sweat covers my entire body. I shiver profusely. The room is dark, the curtains have been drawn, and the door closed. My head spins in both directions simultaneously. I quickly reach out an arm and feel beside me in the bed. The sheets are crumpled, the top cover has been pulled back. The mattress still holds some warmth. I am somewhat disappointed that I woke up in the most pivotal moment of my dream, it had felt so lifelike. But I should have known; everything was too perfect. Real sex, or foreplay I suppose, was not like that. Real sex was most often clumsy, and not as fluid as my dream had been. But still, dream or not, there has been someone in my bed this morning, and that could only mean one thing. My mind flashes with deja vu; as if I already know the situation, as if I already know what to expect. However, this time, there is a slight change in order.
My stomach turns over inside of me, and I dart to the bathroom. It looks as though I'd already been here. Vomit is stuck to the seat of the toilet, and it has not been flushed. This only induces my sickness more, and my whole body lurches forwards as the rest of last nights alcohol leaves my body.
I wipe my mouth with the back of my hand and stand up. I do my best to clean the toilet, with so much still running through my mind. I look at myself in the mirror, my skin is pallid, and my hair is in tangles. Very unlike the flushed goddess I pictured myself to be in this morning's dream. My mind quickly jumps to a new thought. I lean over the side of the counter, my heart is beating out of my chest. I am praying furiously inside of my head. I look in the waste bin. And just like in the dream, there lies a single condom, however not as neat as I had envisioned it. But no matter, I can deal with clean up later.
Splashing some cool water onto my face, I regain composure and walk out of the bathroom and into the living room. I am not surprised as I see Jack sitting on the couch. However, he is not grinning sheepishly, emanating that carefree aura that I had seen so clearly this morning. Instead, his head is in his hands, he appears to have his eyes closed, and is breathing deep; concentrating with great effort.
His head stirs slightly within his hands. He slowly looks up, his eyes meeting mine. I am taken aback at the sight of him, bloodshot eyes, pale face, a bit of vomit stuck to the left side of his hair. I approach him, hesitantly.
Jack, you look like hell love, what's the matter?
Just no sleep is all.
His eyes fall towards the ground, avoiding my questioning gaze. I can already feel what's coming, my stomach is tight with knots.
Listen Jack, about last night...
No, Jane. I don't want to talk about it. It should have never happened. It was a mistake.
Well, clearly is was a mistake. But it was a mistake that was made. It's not the first time something like this has happened, I wish you wouldn't act so remorseful.
I'm sorry Jane, what would be the correct way to act in this situation?
But his voice is void of apology. He is beginning to sound agitated, even defensive.
I don't know, maybe you could stop being such a prick about it. How do you think it makes me feel? Am I really that terrible? You know you thought about this, I've thought about this. Hell, I'll bet you've even wanted it. I know I have.
That's in the past. Jane, I can't see you anymore. Not even as friends.
Jack, why are you being like this?
My voice cracks, even though I had never truly had him, I can feel myself losing him.
I'm seeing Stella.
His words fall like a bombshell on my ears. I swear my heart stops, if only for a split second.
I've been seeing her since Wednesday. We slept together. She wishes to see me again.
I walk towards my door, not thinking that I would ever have to do what I was about to do. I open it.
He just looks at me, all expression drained from his face.
Just get the fuck out of my sight. I thought better of you, you know that? I even thought that one day we might have something. But now I know, that after all these years-after all these goddamn years-that I was very wrong.
He simply stands and drags himself, almost corpse-like, out my front door, without so much as a backwards glance. I want so much to hurl every existing insult at him, as he slowly makes his way to the elevator, but I stand there, lost for words. Instead, I slam the door, collapse on my couch, letting the black hole that is growing deep within my body, swallow me up.
Part Two: Half Full
If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will get you there
Chapter One: Awakening
arousal from sleep, in a natural or figurative sense
The winter months dragged by like a violent illness. Jane did not leave the house, and she did not endure. She simply existed in the most minimal manner possible. She had lost both a best friend and a lover, and it had taken quite a toll on her restless mind. She was completely catatonic; void of all expression. However, she had a hurricane of emotion hard in her chest. It was suffocating and consuming, and Jane could bring herself to do nothing but to allow it. This continued, until one day, late in January, Jane couldn't bare the solitude any longer.
* * *
I open my eyes.
For the first time in months, I really open my eyes. It was somewhat how I'd imagined the sensation would be like of seeing for the first time after being blind. I look around me from where I sit, on the couch that had become my closest friend, and realize that my life is truly in shambles.
An empty carton of what was Chinese food lays on it's side on the coffee table. The blinds are closed, the hum of the refrigerator is monotonously present in the background. I can hear the gentle patter of footsteps on the floor above mine. Disgusted with what I had let myself, and my apartment come to, I stand up and walk over to the phone. The screen flashes, nine new messages. I've been holed up by myself for two and a half months, and I have nine messages. I spend the better part of the hour listening to them. Four from Kara, one from Arlene, three from the video store, and one from work. The Beast's dull voice explains to me that I am no longer needed and to not call back. It is brief, and blunt, and I am not surprised. I wouldn't want to employ myself either. But at the same time, it feels as though a phantom umbilical cord has been cut. What else do I do with my life but work? Oh right, I fuck things up. I fucked Jack.
My stomach turns over as this thought flits through my mind. A wave of emotion washes over me; I see his face, his head in his hands, the look of disdain in his eyes, the word 'Stella' on his lips. And finally, the back of his head as he walks through the door and out of my life. I come back into focus, touch my hand to my cheek. I realize, that for the first time in months, I'm crying. The tears are streaming down my face, leaving wet spots on the front of my t-shirt. They come harder and harder, and suddenly I am sobbing, my hands wrapped around my chest, feeling the emptiness consuming me. Gnawing at my insides, a painful reminder of what had happened. I crumple to the floor, my face in my shaking hands, knee's pulled up, lying on the hardwood.
I have not allowed myself to express such emotion in the past two months, and I am overwhelmed as all of the suppressed memories flood my mind. But as the tears fall from my eyes, it almost seems as though my problems are falling away with them. Not all of them of course, but some. I let myself lie there on the floor for over an hour, hidden away in my mind, which had become a dark and lonely place; full of cynicism and contempt. Somewhere in the back of my head, I hear a phone ring. Three times. A beep.
Jane, this is your mother. I...
I let gentle sleep take me; I'll deal with whatever comes, later.
* * *
Three hours pass, I wake again to the sound of the phone, beckoning for me to rise up and get a grip on my life. So I do. I clamber about my apartment, trying to find the wireless. Sometimes I swear it has legs and purposefully hides from me so I miss all my calls. Finally, as I come to the bathroom, I find it lying on tile. On the last ring, I answer.
Jane? It's your mother.
Maybe I shouldn't have answered the phone...
Yes, hello mum, how nice of you to think of calling. How are you?
Don't talk to me like that, I've done nothing wrong. And I'm fine, thank you.
I'd like you to come over for tea this afternoon.
Oh sorry, you'd like to have me over? In your house? To what do I owe the opportunity?
Jane, for chris'sakes, I'm trying okay? Be here at four.
And then she hung up.
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