I was surprised that she had only tried ringing one time. She had a reputation of intense persistence. She was outside. Something told me that this was bad news and was going to bring my mood right down. At least friends are that bit distanced and can just offer their sympathy but family, family could judge, give opinions and it was almost as if you had to listen. Thankfully the song was over.
“Hi doll.” Sandy said in a monotone voice and barged straight into the house. “I’ve just been with Mum.”
“Oh yeah, how is she?”
“Same old. Worried about you.”
“Would you all stop! I’m fine! Seriously, I’m fine.” I shocked myself with my response nearing my first mental breakdown. “I’ll start not being fine though if everyone keeps on at me.”
“We just think you’re taking too much on. The deal with Mum is huge and hard for us all to handle but we don’t have everything else on top of it like you, we can just focus. Hear your big sister, take a break. I’m worried about you too.”
“Look, Sand. I know you genuinely care but your concern is beginning to stress me out more. Please.”
“Our mother has cancer. It’s kind of a big deal.”
“I know that. I’m sorry.”
“We also don’t need to be worrying about you on top of it all, but there is this thing called family. We love you. We want you to take care of yourself.”
“Where are the boys?”
“Stop changing the subject. They’re with Graham. I’ve got to meet them in fifteen minutes, but I needed to check in on you first.”
“Thank you. But honestly, focus on your own life. I am fine.”
“If you say so. Please call me later though.”
Sandy left as sharply as she had entered, signing out with an emphatic irritable sigh to show me once again that her concern was real. I allowed for the fact that my sister had a whole family to look after so her life was very different, but I wished she would let go of some pride and be a bit warmer occasionally. Sandy was just like our mother which made my longing for our father’s return so much stronger.
Once the door closed, I slid down the back of it, placed my head in my knees and frequently wiped the heavy tears from my face while sobbing into my damp jeans. I wasn’t wishing for any of the morning’s conversations to have gone any differently I simply wished that they hadn’t happened, so I wasn’t forced to be as broken as I was. Sunday’s were for rest, Sunday’s were for wine and Sunday’s, in my perfect world, were for being alone content in my own misery, without visitors. This Sunday was full of them.
Usually a period of continuous sobbing would snap me out of the sadness, yet this time it hadn’t worked and instead made me feel far worse. I grabbed my coat and without locking any doors decided to go out for a walk.
I exited via the back-garden gate which I left swinging open behind me for any intruder to enter my home, taking with them whatever they wished, and headed for the field. Ignoring all public footpaths, I walked, and walked, and walked. I walked through Mr Ingham’s sheep field, the posh ones that he shipped over from Europe. I trudged through the cow pat which came from the highland cows and waded through the overgrown woodland at the back.
Unaware as to where I was going, I followed the sun and soaked in the sense of freedom that was upon me. I headed for the road.