The house sounds like snow. She’s been lying there for a while now, blinking. Face wedged into the pillow like those pin cushions that were popular in the eighties. Nineties? The road outside is a fur of white noise. She checks her phone again with what feels like drugged fingers, tucks it back under the pillow. Raising, she straightens the four pillows. Two on one side, two on the other. There’s still a faint, bitter scent. She pulls on clothes, quick wash, and cries. Baby-choking sobs. She pats her face.
Bare feet down the staircase. Silence whines. She rubs her right ear.
The three cats are frozen on the kitchen chair cushions. Mechanised fur grinding into movement. She thinks of the bin lorries. Is that today?
Cat food, tea and Mac. Checking emails purposefully. Facebook. Irene Turley has just caught her nail in the blender. Ouch! Money Saving Expert. 2 for 1 on Paris. She follows the link, clicks a few pages, then closes down the window. She reloads her email 3 times.
Nipping back upstairs, she retrieves her phone, tapping the screen alive. She blanks it off quickly.
Chores. The washing machine accompanies her second cup of tea. Swishes towards the incline. She should work.
Eleven, no messages.
Third cup of tea. The fridge emits a pensive, electrical throb.
Would she ever know? His silver car, a pulled cracker on the M62. She should get out the house and take pictures. Do something creative. Or finish that final account.
Herbal tea, for a change. Green tea and cinnamon.
She resigns herself to finishing the artwork for her most overdue client. Dry-eyeballing the screen, almost getting lost in the architecture.
She’s packed a bag, just in case. Party music has fired up next door. Same as every Friday.
‘Hi sweetie.’ The purr of the silver car on the M62. ‘Can’t believe that’s another week gone, can you? Flown by. How was your day?’
‘Oh, fine.’ Her tongue is Jurassic, her saliva sludge. ‘How was yours?’
‘The odd suicide. Usual.’ His laugh was a grunt. ‘Seriously though, how’s things? How’d you get on today?’
‘Oh, busy busy. You know me.’