"Mum...Mum; hello, it's me," said her son. His voice, hollowed only slightly by the telephone line, sounded stronger.
Or was she only hoping?
"Hello, Tom. So nice to hear from you," answered Iris, looking up at Harold with a misty smile. He nodded slowly.
"Well, it'sonly that I'm feeling better, Mum," said her son."And I don't exactly know why. I placed an advert, and..., " his voice trailed off .
"Yes, luv, I noticed it. I thought it peculiar, Tom; I did. But if it helped it some way...,"
"It did. Somehow, seeing it in print... in black and white...it's almost as if it moved it away from my mind. Just made it part of the news in a way. It...I don't know, Mum."
Iris thought of her own mum, of the story she had told of her first love. His RAF plane had been shot down over Hamburg in the early blush of the war, and she had slept tearfully with the telegram and his ribbon for months. She had hated the sight of uniformed men.
"Then, Iris, I awoke one day and got shut of it," she had told her wide-eyed daughter. "Put the ribbon and a photo in a jewellery case, I did, and threw out the telegram. I put up an advert at the post office: wedding dress for sale; never worn.
"Sold it straight off, and met your father three years later."
"I think I understand, Tom," said Iris softly to her son. She looked to Harold, who saw the small wetness in his wife's eyes and inclined his head slightly.
"Thanks, Mum. How's Dad?"
"He's well, Tom. He's thinking of you. We all are."
"I know," answered Tom quickly." I've been hopeless. I apologize. I'll speak with everyone now. I'll try to explain."
"There's no need," interjected Iris quietly.
"But first," said Tom emphatically, "I really must speak to the motorist and the skateboarder. I don't know why. I just must."
His mother tried to dissuade him. It was pointless, she said. It was an accident, she reiterated. God's will, she pleaded.
"I must, Mum. Sorry," he said. "Love you."
Iris looked to Harold.
"He's better, Har," she nodded. "I think."