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JAS, 24

All right, babe, I’m sorry, but I-

(she’s cut off. Redials)

Shit, sorry, went through a tunnel. I’d better get a move on.

Anyway. You’re wondering why I’m calling you at god-knows-what-time, when I know you never have your phone on overnight. I’ve got an hour, don’t I? Till your alarm clock goes off, the red one I got you. And it’s Tuesday, right? So you’ll sit up, put your shorts on and head to the Northern Quarter for yoga with Maggie. She was nice. I just couldn’t ever get my limbs to go where they were meant to. You put me to shame with your downstairs-facing dog, or whatever it’s called.

I was thinking about the first time I went to yours. It was after that Feminist Society meeting you took me to, remember? I told my mum about it, when I visited last weekend. She was well into that. Apparently, she used to do things like that, with my dad, back when it was proper revolutionary. That’s right, feminist meetings with my dad- who hasn’t done his own laundry in living memory, and doesn’t know what kind of cheese we buy. Honestly. Mum always gets Mature, the resealable one, and he got Mild, the one you have to rip open with a knife. It goes off sooner, exposed to the air like that. She told him, and he got all snippy and annoyed, like ‘well I don’t know how I’m supposed to know! It doesn’t matter, surely?’ And it doesn’t matter, I guess. But mum’s been buying us that cheese all my life; that’s a couple of decades and then some.

Mum had sorted my room and made my bed, got everything all nice like she does. Chicken in the oven, my favourite bourbons in a tin. Dad said ‘you see what we do for you?’, half joking, then stuck the telly on and sat down. Mum unstacked the dishwasher.

That first time I came round, I remember, you didn’t have any bloody toilet roll. Good thing I had tissues! But, like, the next time I came, a week later, you still didn’t have any. Or the time after. So, next time I came, I brought you that big superpack of toilet roll. You gave this bemused little laugh and shook your head, like I’d done something incomprehensible. Kissed me hard. I felt like I’d- helped.

Thing is, I’ve been buying your toilet roll all year. You haven’t said thanks for a while. Little things. I ask you to change your sheets, when they’re actually foul, and if you don’t, I’ve started just… doing it. Like that’s normal. And I don’t know why.

We were meant to go away this summer, the two of us, but I didn’t organise it. Your idea, but you thought I’d sort it. I thought I would, too, honestly. How did it end up like that? I was never that person before. It’s just- if I didn’t organise it, who would? If I didn’t get the toilet roll, who would? Jesus Christ, Ben, how were you wiping your arse before?!

It’s not your fault, Ben. I mean, it is a bit, but it’s mine too, because I only noticed it now. Well. Last weekend. And I don’t want it to be too late so I’m- going. It’s painful but I’m going. And it’s probably better if you act like I’m not coming back. See how it goes, like. Talk about it at your next feminist meeting. I’m sure they’d have some ideas.

Ah- tunnel.

(she hangs up)


Libby was brought up in Pakistan, the Phillippines, New Zealand and Winchester, and is studying Drama and English at the University of Manchester.  

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