Wake-up call

11 Apr 2004

He was luxuriating, glad of the hot pounding and cold spritz of the shower's spray, when the telephone rang. Its jangling cut through the freshness, to his hangover beneath, and with a groan he pulled himself out and answered.


There was a pause before the confession: "... Hi."

He sighed, away from the phone. Keep it light, he thought, and brightly said: "Hi. Morning. Uh..." (rubbed his eyes) "... how are you?"

"OK," the voice said, following the outline of a shrug. "I miss you."

There was a pause as they both waited. "Well? Say something. Say you miss me."

"I miss you," he admitted, rubbing a hand over his face and collecting droplets into a swipe of water. "But..."



Her turn to sigh. "OK. Ring me? Please?"


He finished his shower but couldn't get back the hum in his skin or the way the warmth had been seeping into his bones. As he dressed he saw among the clutter on his bedside table the photograph frame turned away from the bed. He swung it round towards him for a moment, then back to the wall. Got his bag, left the house, headed towards the tube station. Tried to forget the smell of her hair: almonds and roses.