It was a pleasant spring after the hard winter of the break-up with Colin. Getting him out was impossible, so I moved to a smaller apartment. I was a bit worried about securing the kid, but Colin was crushed and dysfunctional. He seemed to watch me packing through a haze.
“I’m taking the microwave,” I said.
The new apartment had seemed larger at first because, of course, he wasn’t there, taking up all the space. I painted a couple of walls white and felt better.
During March I wouldn’t take Colin’s calls and only replied to messages and e-mails concerning financial matters.
In April he called me one Monday morning at 7:10 a.m. I took the phone without thinking.
“I remembered how difficult it was for you to get up mornings,” he said.
He sounded borderline cheerful. I was still half-asleep. I hadn’t been getting up in time for anything. The kid had been late for school and I’d been late for work. We should really be getting up earlier as we are living further out.
“Thanks,” I said.
“It was just a wake-up call,” he said.
“I’ll put Joe on,” I said, “You can talk to him while I get him dressed.”
I put Joe’s socks on. His underpants. His T-shirt, trousers, top. I went into the kitchen and started some coffee. I could hear Joe explaining about one of his computer games. In detail. The sort of detail that kills me, but which Colin seems — seemed — very relaxed with.
The calls ran through to the summer holidays, and then Colin went travelling. It had been a nice period, those wake-up calls, as though he was dead, but, anyway, his spirit was watching over us. Concerned but in no way forceful. The melodrama gone.
Anita Kane’s stories have appeared in Stride Magazine (UK), Aesthetica (UK), Everyday Weirdness (US), Wet Ink (Australia), and Orbis Quarterly International Literary Journal (UK). She is from the UK, but now lives in Denmark.