Out at sea

Anna is a young girl who suffers from the loss of her father out at sea. She tries to cope with everyday life: helping her single mother and younger brother Benji to make the most of life, though it all gets too much. With the stress and anxiety of moving schools, Anna is anything but fine. Her long trips up to the beach are tiring, but they're worth it when she gets to look out and imagine her Dad beside her. But everything seems to result in tears, and Anna realises she's stayed strong for too long.


7. Troubles

It's past ten o'clock when I finally get Benji into bed, after many struggles of him not wanting to go to sleep until Mum gets home. After tucking him in, I head over to my room to get changed into my pajamas, when I suddenly remember the note in my pocket. From Colton. I grab my phone from the side table and type the numbers down into the keypad. I wonder whether or not I should call him because it could wake him up- so I decide to text him instead. 'Hey Colton it's Anna' I type. Is this the right thing to say? Or should I just say it's Anna, or sorry if I wake you up or disturb you... I decide on 'Hey it's Anna, sorry I'm a bit late' after much debate with myself. I don't know why I'm getting so worked up about it in the first place, it doesn't really matter- does it?

Just when my eyes are closing- I hear my phone vibrate on the table top. I roll over sleepily to see if it's Colton or Mum or Ruby. I would like to hear from any of them. I open up my phone and see 'message recieved, Colton'. Rubbing my eyes, I sit up in my bed, head resting against the pillow. I don't know why, but I'm getting slightly nervous and excited to see what he says- as it did take him quite a while to write it. Or maybe that's not the only reason. 'Hi Anna! & don't worry, I would have carried on waiting the whole night if I needed to ;-) x'.

So...he was waiting for me? And...was that a kiss at the end? I read through it again and again- until I realise how sad I must seem. A rush of something I am not yet familiar of comes through me. Guilt for making him wait so long, and not remembering? Happiness that he did remember and was willing to wait the whole night for me? Surprise that he put a kiss at the end? Or maybe all three. But why should I be surprised, it's a perfectly normal thing to put a kiss at the end of a text, isn't it? I stroke through my hair and type down the only thing I can think to say. Deciding not to put a kiss, I put a smiley face instead- then feel guilty because he did both. So in the end, I do the same as him.

'Oh, I'm sorry! But thanks :-) x' I reply.

A few seconds later, he replies 'Don't be sorry at all! & no problem x'

Now he just put a kiss. Does that mean that it was actually a problem because he didn't put a smiley face, and if it wasn't actually a problem he would have put a smiley face? Or, does it make the kiss even more important because it's the only thing? Wow, Anna stop worrying! I tell myself. What should I say now> Before I can make my mind up, I get another text from him.

'Sorry for keeping you up- we should both probably get to sleep for school tomorrow '

Woooooaaaaahhhhh. That was a heart! That's even more important than a kiss! Because hearts mean love! Is he taking things too fast? Does he actually feel that way? Do I feel the same way about him? Maybe I do, but if I did, would that mean...? 'It's just a heart Anna, stop stressing!' I tell myself. 'Hearts don't mean anything, neither do kisses. Well love and kisses do matter- but only in real life. And this is texting. Just texting.

I try to reply casual, but ending up with 'Okay ♥' which I then delete because I look totally desperate. I then leave it with 'Sure :-) x' turning off my phone, and promising myself that I won't turn it back on just to see if he's sent me another message. I lie back in my bed, staring up at the ceiling and wondering when Mum will be home. I don't know where she is, I don't know what she's doing, and that's what really scares me.

Suddenly, I hear the door unlock downstairs and I hear voices bouncing off the walls all the way upstairs. I hop out of bed, peering over the banister and looking down the stairs. My Mum is sure enough there, looking up at me, Dave rustling around in the background.

"Where have you been?" I ask, a whiff of alcohol entering my nostrils. I flinch.

"Just taking the drinks back to the shop. Don't need them anymore, do I?" She says, and I sigh in relief. I thought she'd actually been out drinking. The stench in the dodgy alcohol shop down the road must have caught onto her clothes.

"How come you took so long?" I ask, knowing I shouldn't be asking all these questions, but I just want to know. Yes, that's it, I'm nosy.

"Oh, I stopped off to talk to a friend for a while." She replies, eyes darting elsewhere, the obvious sign of dishonesty.

"And that takes more than 6 hours?" I shake my head, walking off back to my room. I can tell she's lying now, straight to me. That's ridiculous! Why did I even believe she was out giving the drinks back? Yes, that bit might have been true, but I know she's been down to the pub, drinking beer or wine or whatever took her fancy. She isn't drunk, but she looks tired, and beaten. Plus, she wouldn't smell that bad if she'd only gone to the shop. I haven't been there but it can't be as bad as she says it is.

I tuck myself into bed, trying to get to sleep as quick as possible so I don't have to face my Mother again when she comes to say goodnight, if she does. But I keep tossing and turning, the duvet tangled between my arms and legs. It's a while before I hear the door creak open, and I have to pretend to be asleep, my eyelids rapidly shutting and my sleep mode now activated.

"Anna?" I can feel my Mum's breath heavy on my face as she edges nearer, and I try not to flinch at the horrible stench. I try to relax, my whole body looking like its fully shut down, and then, before I even know it, I am asleep. My Mum already left the room, and my whole body as still as a pancake, apart from my chest moving up and down, my heart beating steadily, steadily, until it reaches the next day.


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