‘Do you think all-over stripes are too much?’
My long-suffering mother thinks stripes are fine.
‘Or spots? Spots are nice.’
Sharp intake of breath at the other end of the phone.
‘Don’t worry, I’ll decide! Oh also…’
We’ve been here before – the so-called afterthought.
‘Yes,’ she says, ‘and I replied.’
The IKEA bedding department has everything it seems, except Wi-Fi.
‘… I haven’t got it.’
‘So… what did it say?’
‘Yeah that’s what I was going to do.’ I sigh. ‘Yeah.’
I contemplate the message. Gone is the dry sarcasm of our early exchanges, the tentative questioning when I knew things weren’t going as I hoped, the thinly-veiled hurt of our final conversations. In their place is a quiet neutrality and it saddens me. I hit send.
Getting up, my eye is caught by a bed set slightly apart from the others. I go over to it and sit down, absent-mindedly stroking the sheets. I rise, walk round, contemplating it from various angles before taking out my phone.
‘Is all grey acceptable?’