Hard As Nails*

“Hope work etc going well.  If you’re free before 2pm we could speak?” I message Seb at one o’clock this afternoon.  

The flat phone rings.  

“Hello,” he says.

“Hi darling.  Have you done lots of work?” I say.

“Well, I’m sitting at my desk.  I’m about to start,” he says.  “But I can talk.”

“Just wanted to say goodbye before Mum and brother arrive at two o’clock to pick me up,” I say.

“What’s happening later?” Seb asks.

“Oh, it will be chaos,” I say.  “Packing and looking for adaptors and unpacking and repacking and…oh I’ve just put my clothes out on the bed and there are so many of them.  I’ve packed four pairs of fit flops and…”

“I’ve only got one pair of flip flops,” Seb says, unhelpfully.

“You’re probably brilliant at packing then,” I say.  “I’m not.  I’ve taken three pairs of trousers, two pairs of shorts, three tops, two cardigans and two dresses out of the case but there’s still so much stuff.  Maybe Mum will help me with it when she gets here.  There’s a whole load of stuff at the parentals that needs to come with as well and…”

“Don’t worry.  Your Mum will sort it out,” Seb says.  “I wish you were here.  I miss you.  I’m in my flat and it’s all quiet without you.”

“Oh, I miss you too darling,” I say. “If you get on with your dissertation whilst I’m away, you’ll be able to see me when I get back.”

“Yes.  Well, that is the plan,” Seb says.  

Mum and brother arrive and then dump me in the village.  Really would be good plan to get nails done, I think. Planned to leave them nude but they look sad like this.  Pop in to a few nail salons and the last one has space.  

My nails look sooooo much better now: Orange with a hologram glitter top coat (photo attached).

Back at the parental home there is chaos.  A bomb has hit it: the bomb of my brother’s stuff which is strewn everywhere, over every surface, the floor and spilling out of his case.

Had better finish packing.  “We need to pack everything before dark,” Mum says.  No idea why.

Happy Wednesday everyone!

*2003. Dan Simmons.  Hardboiled detective novel.

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