Monday, 16 July 2012


23.50. Yawning. Sitting on the sofa. Crap on TV, desperate to go to bed. Saturday night. Watching the clock. Taxi booked to bring Eldest home from a party at midnight. What time can I expect him at the door? Quarter past? Twenty past? Then I can go to sleep… I could go now, husband already up there. Slip between cool silky sheets. Keep the phone beside me. Listen for the door...

No. I’ll nod off. Won’t know if he’s back. Will awake suddenly, hours or minutes or possibly days later. Stiff neck. Silent house. Not knowing. So I carry on watching the crap.

00.00. At least the taxi driver has his number. Not ours. Learnt from that mistake last week. Phone rang in the bedroom. Husband grabbed it. Not fully awake. Listened to the voice on the other end. Leapt out of bed, stark naked. (Don’t tell him I said. Invading his privacy). Rushed to the window. Peered out between curtains into the dark where only foxes and low life roam at such hours in south London. Tells me there’s a taxi out there waiting... somewhere.

It’s booked to pick up Eldest in Clapham, I say, exasperation seeping through the cracks in my patience. The taxi company has got it wrong. I told them the car was for our son. Told them to phone him when outside the party. Gave them his number. They have phoned us instead. Obviously. Predictably. There is no taxi outside our house. Husband goes back to bed, huffing and puffing.

00.05. That was last week. This week I get Eldest to ring and book it himself, for midnight. That’s five minutes ago. Great! He should be in the car. I text: are you in the car? No reply.

00.10. I get a text: just getting in the taxi now. 


00.15. Yawn. Watch the clock. Turn off TV. Plump sofa cushions. Sit back down. Stare at goldfish… that bowl needs cleaning.

00.20. Pick up paper. Read a bit. Put it down. Yawn. Watch the clock. Text again. No reply. Get up. Walk to door. Listen… foxes in the street.

00.25. I get a text: just leaving the party now. 

What! How can he be just leaving the party now when he said he was getting in the taxi five minutes ago? I text back: what!

00.30. I get a text: sorry, someone is being sick. I’m the only sober one to look after her. 


00.35. Phone the taxi company. Are you waiting for my son, outside the party? No. He sent us away. Said he wasn’t ready yet, to come back in ten. There is no taxi waiting outside the party. I re-book it, I apologise. I tell them to go back. Please. If they wouldn’t mind. Thank you. Very much.

Not yawning anymore. Very cross. Very tired. Want to go to bed.

00.40. Text Eldest: I have re-booked taxi. Get someone else to help girl. An adult?!!! Get in the taxi I am sending back for you. You are behaving like a spoilt brat!

Good. Feel better. Vented my spleen.

00.45. Look down at the text. It is flying into the ether on its way to Eldest. Predictive setting has reworked it. It does not say spoilt brat anymore. It says spooky brat. “You are behaving like a spooky brat!”

Kind of spoils the effect.

00.50. Smiling. Laughing. Not yawing. Saying spooky brat out loud to myself again and again in the hall.

01.05. A knock at the door. Quiet. Nervous. I kiss him. I embrace him. He embraces back. He smiles. I smile. He goes to bed. I go to bed.

01.15. I yawn. I lie awake in the dark. Look at the clock. Not sleepy. Not sleeping. Listen to foxes outside in the street. Screaming.

01.20. Won’t bother with taxis in future. Will stay up and go and get him myself. Not worth the bother. Too expensive. Too spoilt. Too spooky. Yawn.

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