I sit on the kitchen counter, staring out the window at the shadows of the garden. I keep meaning to convince Alex to fix up the blinds that are currently sitting on top of the tumble dryer, and remind myself to tell him as soon as he gets home. I look across at my mobile and pick it up. The last text I got was from him, four and a half hours before it started to get dark. I look up at the clock on the microwave before I go to read it again. 00:29, just half past midnight - they said they’d try to be back before dawn.
Hey Cal. Missd u loadz.
Nt much done here, bit
Borin. My lv alwaze. AJ
I grin and drop my phone as it starts to vibrate with another text from him. I open it immediately, my stomach turning as I realise his tone as changed completely, sounding more like an army commander than my husband.
Cal. Call immedi8ly. X
I dial his number, my head pounding with immediate and sickening worry. I wait for the dialling tone to change and to hear his strong, soft voice almost immediately, as I usually do.
It didn’t. He doesn’t answer.
“Cal, it’s me.” Tom cuts me off mid sentence.
“What? Why aren’t you Alex? Why did you use hi-”
“I didn’t have any credit, and Alex…” he sighs and the phone line crackles, “Cal, someone smashed into the passenger side of my car.”
“Is Alex OK? What happened? Who did it?” I start questioning him repeatedly. He tries to calm me down, tries to get a word in edgeways, but I can’t physically let him. My brain is screaming ‘stop talking’ but my mouth won’t listen.
“Cal!” he shouts eventually, “Alex is in the hospital. His skull got fractured. He’s unconscious - in a coma.” My grip relents on the handset and I fall to the floor beside it. My head in my hands, I draw my knees up to my chest and begin to cry. I can hear Tom’s voice telling me to listen, to pick up the phone and listen to him for once. I try to gather my strength to listen to him again, picking up the handset with a tear dripping from my nose onto my lips. Only 34 hours earlier, Alex had kissed me there. Would he ever do it again?