When the phone rang, the boy sleeping in the other side of the double bed was just stirring, woken by the intrusive sound of the telephone buzzing. The telephone was on the girl’s side of the bed, and she had woken as soon as he heard it. The boy lethargically turned to lie on his side, facing the girl, whilst supporting his head with his hand. The girl asked “Should I get that?”, and the boy asked what kind of a stupid question that was, and yes, she should answer the goddamn phone. The girl smiled at his shortness, she knew neither of them had had a good night’s sleep for weeks because of the telephone calls.
The boy kept his eyes, framed by dark lashes, steadily fixed on the girl’s for a second, but as she looked away to pick up the receiver, he let his eyes stay across her young body, of which the lines were clearly visible through her silk summer camisole.
“Hello?” she said resonantly into the phone.
“Oh, Jaquie! Thank God, I was getting worried, why didn’t you answer sooner?”
The ring on her left hand knocked against the plastic of the phone as she changed the phone to the other ear.
“Mother, I’m hardly awake, do you even know what time it is?” she yawned heavily, and stroked a lock of straight dark hair back behind her ear. The boy, bored with the conversation already, rolled onto his back and lit a cigarette that he had procured from somewhere.
“That doesn’t matter,” argued the caller “I just wanted to talk to you about, him.”
There was a pause, and then the caller whispered almost urgently down the phone, “Your father.” The girl sighed, and lay back down on the bed next to the boy.
“It’s just, he’s doing it again and I honestly don’t understand why.”
“Doing what again?”
“Talking about her.”
The girl rolled over to lie on her side, and watched her boy taking in deep lungfuls of smoke, and breathing them out again. She was always fascinated by this, but never smoked herself. “Uh-huh.” The girl agreed, prompting her mother to continue.
“I know that it’s all in the past, but he speaks so favourably of her.”
“Yes, of course he does. Childhood sweetheart and all that, anyway, on top of this I found out her name as well. He keeps on making the mistake of calling any goddamn girl under the age of twenty-five it, and of course, they just look at him as if he’s mad. I swear, I’m going to have to keep him in the house if he carries on like this.”
“So what is it?” asked the girl. She was hardly listening anymore, distracted by caressing the smooth skin of the boys torso with her french-manicured fingernails.
“What’s what? Will you stop interrupting me, Jaqueline! Her name? Her name is. Ring any bells for you?”
“None whatsoever, I swear.” replied the girl apathetically, whilst watching the boy take a final drag from his cigarette, and stub it out in the glass ashtray on the bedside table.
“So there he is, my husband of almost twenty years now, twenty years, can you believe that? Yearning for some girl he used to know, who for all he knows might not be alive, when he’s married to me! Twenty goddamn years, and this is what I get.”
“Unbelievable.” The girl assured her. The boy turned to face her, and began softly tracing the curves of her body, which made her smile contentedly.
“And, oh, the fun they used to have, no responsibilities in the world. I’m sick of hearing it, I really am. He had to grow up sometime for chrissake. Get a house, a family, a job?”
“Mother, I really have to get some sleep now, do you know what time it is? Just fix yourself a nightcap and go to bed” the girl said whilst the boy was softly kissing her face.
“A night cap? Are you serious Jaqueline? I’ve already had an entire bottle tonight, trying to forget all this, and it obviously still hasn’t worked.”
“Then go to bed,”
“With him? Jaqueline, have you not been listening to a goddamn word I’ve said?
“Goodnight mother, it’ll all be okay in the morning. I promise, and call me when you’re feeling better.”
“Fine. Goodnight Jaqueline.”
The girl hung up the receiver, and turned towards the boy. She kissed him on the forehead as he slid his arm around her waist. She leant over him to turn out the bedside light.