Her phone rings rings rings – riiiing.
Hi, you little thing
She drops the phone. Cries out.
Little thing, little thing
The phone is still connected. She can hear her mother through the receiver.
Are you there, little lady?
Cries she cries. What the fuck
Don’t cry, honey. Talk to me, honey
She picks up the phone.
Mom . . . ?
There you are, little thing. Oh, I miss you
Mom She sobs. why why?
I’m sorry, honey. It’s okay, now
She sobs she sobs she feels like dying.
This isn’t real. Mom. This isn’t
Honey, I’m sorry
She’s on the floor. On her knees. One hand on the carpet.
Please, don’t cry. Little sweet thing
I can’t breathe. Mom.
You’re okay. Breathe. Sweetie, breathe
She feels weak. Like dying like dying.
Mom, where are you?
The beach. Come to the beach, honey
She lets out a laugh, despite herself.
You’re at the beach?
Yes. I’m at the beach. I’ve been here a long time, honey
How can you be there, Mom?
I’m here, honey. I am. Listen. Listen, honey
Through the receiver, she hears. She hears the wind. The caws of the gulls. She hears. The early evening. The beach grass. The cresting and the falling of the waves.