I glance at the clock. It’s very early. Far earlier than I would normally be awake for work. I hesitate for a moment and then I ring my supervisor.
“Is everything alright?” Alicia asks with a yawn.
“Hey, Alicia,” I say quietly. “Look, I’m sorry to do this to you, but I’m really sick. I don’t think I can make it in today.”
“Oh.” It feels like Alicia is looking for a lie in my words, but she won’t find one. I’m not lying, after all. I feel quite ill. “I see. That’s fine, Jessica, we’ll find someone to cover you. Thank you for letting me know so soon.”
“I’m sorry to do this to you,” I say.
“No, it’s alright,” Alicia says, sounding more awake now. “I can’t remember the last time you took a sick day, so you’re probably overdue. I guess you’re just unlucky this time.”
I think of the message I woke up to.
“Yeah,” I say.
I hang up after exchanging farewells and then I send a message to Allison.
“Can you please take Owen to daycare for me? Thanks x”
She doesn’t reply. I don’t expect her to; it’s too early. She’s going to question me later, I know, but I hope she holds off until much later. I can’t bear questions right now, and I have a feeling she’ll show up to break down my door if I ignore her again.
I feel weak. I should be getting up to move around and live my day. Nothing has changed. We went on a date. We had sex. It obviously didn’t work out the way that I’d hoped, but I’d known that was a possibility. In some ways I even expected this. I knew it was coming. I knew that Grant still wasn’t happy.
Expecting it and having it actually happen, though? Those are two very different things, aren’t they? I snuggle down into my covers. It’s too early for this. I can’t even imagine what time Grant must have left to be gone when I woke.
Maybe some more sleep will help. At the very least, I won’t have to think about this for a little while longer.
When I wake up again, this time at a more respectable hour, it doesn’t feel any better. My heart is still heavy and I still don’t feel like doing anything other than curling up in bed. I should be at work by now, but I’m glad I made the decision to stay home. Even if I went to work, I doubt I would have managed to do a good job.
I remember Kyle telling me, in his own rough way, to get up and do something about all this. And I’m going to. I’m not going to give up. Even if Grant doesn’t want me as a girlfriend, he’s still the father of my child. I’m going to make some sort of relationship work with him for Owen’s sake, even if it means we only amicably chat over coffee when we pick up and drop off our son at each other’s places.
I don’t want that. But it might be what Grant wants, and I’m not going to push him for anything else, not after everything I’ve done to him.
I have to take a step back. It’s only right.
I wrap my arms around my pillow and bury my face in the softness. I don’t want to think about this anymore. I just want to stay here and get my head in order.
Then my phone vibrates.
I already know who it is without looking. I haven’t checked my phone yet, but I won’t be surprised if this isn’t the first message Allison has sent. Can’t the woman take a hint? If I wanted to talk, I would be talking by now. I would ask her for help. But I don’t want to talk, at all.
Still, mindful of the fact that my headstrong friend will probably do something drastic if I don’t reply soon, I roll over and snatch my phone off the bedside table. I squint at the bright light of the screen.
To my surprise, there’s only one message waiting for me, which is very unlike Allison.
“Dropped Owen. Want to talk?”
I snort. I wonder if Kyle has anything to do with this. Still, I feel warm for the first time all morning as I look at that message. Allison, who can’t help but stick her nose where it doesn’t belong, is trying to give me space by actually asking first.
This, more than anything, is what prompts me to send my reply.
She replies immediately.
‘I’ll come around this afternoon. Want me to pick up Owen?’