Music: Sunrise - Norah Jones
“Hello, Dad?” I say cautiously.
“Hiya flower,” my Dad replies, but not in his usual cheery voice.
“Is everything OK?” I ask, knowing deep in my stomach that it can’t be.
“No love, no it’s not,” my Dad replies sombrely. “It’s your Grandma,” he continues. “Sadly she died this morning at about 7am.”
Oh no. Oh no that can’t be right.
“Oh Dad!” I exclaim. “Oh no, it can’t be. The doctors said the treatment was working.”
I don’t know what to do with myself and I sit up in shock as I listen to what he has to say.
“She passed away very peacefully,” my Dad continues. “Me and your Mum were with her in her last few moments.”
Tears prick the corner of my eyes before one splashes down my cheek.
“How is Mum? How is she doing?” I ask.
I can’t imagine how awful it must be for her. And here I am, naked after a night of stupid, meaningless sex when I should be there, with my family.
“Your Mum is upset, but she’s holding it together. She’s strong. That’s where you get it from.”
I sniff back the tears as my Dad continues.
“Just before she died, your Grandma quietly whispered that she was ready to go to heaven. She wasn’t in any pain at the end so don’t worry about that. She just closed her eyes and slipped away peacefully.”
“And how are you? How are you Dad?”
It must be so hard for him too. He got on really well with his mother-in-law, and now he has to be there to support his wife whilst he deals with his own grief.
“I’m doing alright,” he says. “The thing that upset me the most was the last thing that your Mum said to her before she died. She took hold of your Grandma’s hand and said ‘You have been so brave.’ Your Grandma passed away only a few seconds after.”
“Oh Dad!” I say.
That’s all I can say. I can tell that my Dad is as upset as I am.
“I’ll come straight home,” I say to him, whilst realising that might be slightly more difficult a task than I really want it to be.
“OK love. No rush though.”
Even now my Dad doesn’t want to feel like he is imposing.
“I’ll be round as soon as I can,” I reiterate.
“OK love,” he replies. “I’ve got to get back to your Mother now. I’ll see you soon.”
“Yes, see you soon. Bye Dad. I love you.”
“I love you too flower,” he replies, and then hangs up.
With the phone still in my hand and the duvet tightly wrapped around me, I just sit there and stare at the blank wall in front of me.
I feel so upset and guilty as I didn’t go and see my Grandma again before she died. My Dad said it was best not to visit her again. During the past couple of days she had been slipping in and out of consciousness and it would have been very upsetting to see her. I was going to ignore him and go and visit her again anyway, but now I can’t and I feel terrible.
I also feel so exposed. I am in a strange man’s bed, not exactly sure where I am, and I am naked.
I need to get back to my friend Nicola’s house as soon as possible so I can get changed, pick up my car and get to my parent’s house.
I hear the sound of someone bumping up the stairs, then the bedroom door opens and Craig walks in smiling and carrying a steaming cup of tea for me. I smile at him weakly as he places the mug on the bedside table, before taking off his T-shirt and getting back into bed.
“I’m really sorry”, I say, “but I’m going to have to go very soon”.
“Oh, OK. How come?” Craig replies, not sounding particularly bothered.
I know he has to leave for work so he is probably relieved that I want to head off.
“My Dad’s just called me. My Grandma died this morning and I need to go home”.
Craig’s face softens as he registers what I have said.
I don’t know why, but I feel so lost.
“Can you just hold me please?” I ask.
Craig looks like he is in shock too, but he duly obliges and opens his arms. We lie down in silence, and he snuggles up behind me and holds me for a few minutes. It is a very strange experience. If I was with a boyfriend then it would have felt comforting and intimate, but with Craig, a man I hardly know it just feels so wrong and out of place. How can I be consoled by a man who I have only just met?
I don’t want to be here anymore.
I feel Craig starting to get restless behind me so I turn around to face him.
“Would you be able to give me a lift back to my friend’s house please?” I ask him quietly. “I need to pick up my car so I can go home and be with my parents.”
Craig is still holding me in his strong arms.
“Of course,” he replies. “Give me two minutes to get dressed and I can take you.”
I smile at him gratefully and Craig kisses me on the forehead before he climbs out of bed.
I don’t even bother to have a shower. I just want to leave.
I think that Craig understood how I felt. He seemed to make all the right noises at least. In his own sweet way he tried to make me laugh by putting on an oversized pair of paint splattered overalls which were way too big for him and kept falling off. I hurriedly get dressed and then Craig drops me off at Nicola’s in his car. (It was the sporty one on the drive, and he drives me there very fast, partly because I was in such a rush and I think partly to try and impress me. It doesn’t but I am very grateful for the speed).
His car pulls up outside Nicola’s house.
"Are you OK?" Craig asks gently. "I mean, will you be OK?"
"Yeah. Yeah I think so," I reply.
I just want to get home and see my Mum and Dad.
“So, do you fancy meeting up again. You know, when everything’s alright. No rush or anything, but...” Craig asks as he leans forwards in his sporty car seat.
He looks at me earnestly as his voice trails off, and I feel happy that despite everything that’s just happened he seems to like me.
“Yeah, that would be nice,” I reply.
“I’ll call you,” he says, before leaning over to me and kissing me gently on the lips.
As Craig drives away he looks over to me and waves as I wait for Nicola to answer her door. I lift my hand and wave back, and he smiles at me supportively before his car roars up the road.
I only stay at Nicola’s for about ten minutes so I can have a quick wash and get changed, then I drive to my parents as fast as I can. My Mum seemed to be OK and I haven’t seen her cry, but I think she had been for a bit before I arrived.
All this has put my shenanigans with Craig to the back of my mind as my family is definitely the most important thing right now. It’s at times like these that I wish I had someone waiting at home who would wrap me up in big strong arms and look after me.
As it is, I don’t, but I know I will be fine.
Just as long as my Mum is.