by C.A. Steed
Mummy told me what to do if it happens again. I’ve practiced with her until I know what to do really well. First GET MUMMY’S PHONE.
Mummy’s phone is easy to find. It’s bright pink and our carpet is grey so I can see it right away by mummy’s feet. I know the code – I’ve known the code for ages, and when I was really little mummy used to change it so I couldn’t go on the apps games when she wasn’t looking. When I was little I didn’t know that you spend real money in the apps games and it made mummy cry. But she trusts me now because I’m big and I know not to spend money through her phone anymore.
I do the code (121011 easy to remember because it’s MY BIRTHDAY) and the phone lights up. The screen is a picture of me and mummy, just our faces squished together and smiling and you can’t see anything else but I know what we were doing when mummy took it. We were having a duvet and DVD day. It had been a BAD DAY and mummy had been crying in her bed all morning so I made her breakfast of PopTarts and milk and carefully carried it through on a tray with a drawing of her and me that I’d drawn specially hidden under the plate. She cried harder when she saw the breakfast and then even harder when she saw the drawing, and I thought I’d made it worse, but then she said YOU ARE A GOOD GIRL YOU ARE THE BEST GIRL and pulled me up on the bed and cuddled me for a long long time. I didn’t even mind that her soggy tissues got stuck to my leg.
Then next bit we’d practiced was CALL 999. That’s what you do if someone is very sick. I press the picture you press to do a call and put in 999.
“Hello, emergency services, what emergency service do you need?” It is a nice lady.
“Hello ambulance please my mummy is sick.” (Mummy had practiced what to say with me too.)
“Your mummy’s sick is she darling?”
“What’s your name sweetheart?”
“Abbie. My mummy’s not well.” Mummy is lying with her face on the carpet. There’s a bit of sick around her mouth, and I’d pushed her head away from the puddle of it into the light from the window but her head was heavy and I couldn’t push it very far. I hope the smell isn’t making her worse. The smell of sick makes me sicker when I’ve been sick.
“All right Abbie, you’re a good girl to call us.”
“I’m THE BEST GIRL.”
“You are sweetheart, you are. Now is there anyone else with you? Another grown-up?”
“And is mummy talking, sweetheart? Her eyes open?”
I check. Her eyes are open just a tiny bit but there’s only white.
“Not really,” I tell the nice lady. She doesn’t say anything back. “Hello? My mummy needs the ambulance.”
She still doesn’t say anything. I look at the phone screen. It is black, and even if I press the button it doesn’t light up. It is OUT OF BATTERY.
Mummy never practiced what to do if the phone goes OUT OF BATTERY. She sometimes also says THE PHONE HAS DIED.
I sit down next to her head but not in the sick and stroke the hair away from her forehead like she does when I’m sick. She’s cold on her skin. I pull the blanket from the couch down over her to keep her cozy and climb up on the back of the chair to look out the window and wait for the ambulance to come and make her better.
C.A. Steed is a writer and English teacher based in Glasgow, UK. She is currently completing an MLitt in Creative Writing at the University of Glasgow. Her writing focuses principally on issues of gender, identity and memory. Find her on Twitter at @ZaciDeets.