Phone rattles on the table. Message says
“hey honey! How are you?”
I grimace for a while, then breathe, then pick up phone.
“Hey ma, how are you? I’m good.”
I don’t expect the phone to vibrate again so soon, but it does. I look at the screen.
“When are we going to meet up?” she says.
In my head, I see a pair of despondent eyes, a stoic expression. A white face goads me to anger, and I shout and scream at it for abusing me, for causing so much torment in a house that never belonged to it in the first place. I draw from two-year-old memories. of hearing mum shout in her defence, get angry at the man she met on the internet, the man she hardly knew, but allowed him to move in after only two months and treat her like shit because she was lonely and fearful of a spinster’s death. The white face: a racist man, agonisingly sarcastic, almost a psychopathic carelessness, wonderfully punched in by my husband’s black hand, the only person to come to my defence. Beside the whiteness, a brown lump, staring at me, staring at the white, so dumb, such a pushover. By this point, I guess her self-respect had seeped into the floor.
I ponder on these things, and my hand moves to text her back, but the memories—two years old and still able to bring my heart to palpitations—prevent me from doing anything else.
I turn the phone over, and I sleep.