Intervention

Tormented by the loss of his wife, Joshua Murphy, an investigative journalist, must continue on regardless. But when she stops bringing up the past but starts helping in the present Joshua must come to terms with what is really going on.

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2. Morning

A boiling kettle and a lit cigarette signalled morning more so than any bird call. Joshua leaned one foot out of the kitchen door that led out onto the back yard that was littered with old tab butts and cat excrement. He did not own a cat. He had lost that argument five years before. There’s no stopping you now, her voice said. The gathering letters on the kitchen counter told him otherwise. The first cigarette of the day always made him want to quit; it was never a nice experience. Light headedness, shaking legs, increased heart-rate, the classic signs of ‘backy rush’. He never understood why he always felt like that after the first tab, ‘if these were virgin lungs then sure, fair enough’, he thought. ‘but I’ve been smoking for nearly fifteen years, you’d think my body would have given up trying to warn me off them by now’. You always were a stubborn bastard. His internal monologue was disrupted by her soft words in his ear, the kitchen door squeaking open and the kettle clicking off.

“Hey,” Samantha said with arms folded, not wanting to touch anything.

Joshua took his final draw, flicked the smouldering remains onto the yard and closed the back door. He took a bowl from by the sink and a packet of noodles from the upper kitchen cupboard and starting crumbling the noodles into it

“No, Jesus Joshua. Clean the bowl at least.” Sam said.

“Did you only stay over to judge how I live?” Joshua said not turning to face her, but instead started adding the dry seasoning before pouring over the boiled water. “Anyway, I’m recycling. You love that shit.”

“Recycling what, exactly?” She said smiling, looking forward to where this could be going.

“You remember by bowl-o-beans, right? From when we were kids?” Joshua asked smiling, pushing his hair back out of his eyes. “Baked beans, little chopped up bacon bits, Dijon, Worcester sauce, little soy. Damn good. Well the residue of that was all over this bowl; add that flavour to these horrible, disgustingly cheap noodles that normally taste like plywood and we have a breakfast of champions.” He took the bowl and placed it in the microwave. 2 minutes. “I made it for Olivia once. She didn’t appreciate it.” It tasted like feet.

The loud whirring of the microwave broke the silence.

“How are you Joshua? Really though.” She asked eventually.

“As well as can be expected I suppose. I’m having trouble sleeping, the pills aren’t really helping. And I’m err,” he broke off. “I think I’m…”

Ping. Why don’t you tell her you can see me? Are you embarrassed?

He leaped to the microwave and took out the bowl; both hands. Are you scared? He immediately dropped the piping bowl harshly onto the chipped faux-granite worktop. The new smell was a relief to Samantha who only now had moved away from the door and to a chair that was placed awkwardly in front of a broken dishwasher. She didn’t sit.

“You know, just ask mother for help. At least stop returning the money she sends.” She said, sounding more like her mother than she would ever admit. “She worries.”

“She doesn't want to help, or worry. She wants to control. I’m doing just fine on my own thank you. This might not be the perfect life,” He said looking around what he called his kitchen, blowing lightly on his burnt hands. “But at least it's my life. I don’t need handouts.”

“Joshua-“

“No Sam. Just be happy that I'm going to be civil at the funeral. They only ever care when I’m at my lowest, and it’s never love they offer me but money. They don’t know how to love, not properly,” he said, thoughtful. “Maybe that’s where I get it from.” Deep Josh, but we both know you can love. More than one person at a time apparently-

“What time is it?” He said abruptly, interrupting no one that Samantha noticed.

“Like half nine,” she replied checking her designer watch. Joshua noticed it for the first time, ‘the newest gift from Mother’, he thought. ‘Payment for coming to see me’, he laughed coldly to himself. “You’d actually better hurry and eat whatever that is and get ready.” She couldn’t wait to leave.

“Yeah yeah, Sam. Oh,” he added. “I never did ask how you slept, sis.”

“Terribly,” she said opening the kitchen door and sliding herself out, letting it slam behind her. A moment later the door opened again and her freckled but stern face came around the corner. “It is good to see you again, Joshua.” She smiled, briefly, and then left once more.

I always liked her, Olivia whispered as she took Joshua’s fork of bowl-o-bean infused noodles to her mouth before taking a small bite. Still tastes like feet.

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