For part one, click here.
Granny stared at the dials on her silver watch. Tick tock, another minute passed. It had been five hours and still no news. They jumped together, shoulders wrenching back and screams catching in their throats. The shrill, sharp ring of the telephone was a foghorn.
‘You answer it, Granny. Please,’ Craig whispered and turned away.
Granny snatched up the receiver. Silence. A cry followed. A lump battled to force its way to the forefront of Craig’s mouth. He swallowed, fighting for calm as Granny responded to the caller.
‘Paul, just tell me what’s going on.’
Craig’s head swung round. Paul, his daddy. Daddy had come back. His face spread into a gigantic grin. Daddy would save Mummy. She would be all right. She wouldn’t die. Granny replaced the receiver, her head in her hands.
‘It’s all right, Granny. Daddy’s with Mummy. Daddy always makes everything better. Don’t cry.’
The elderly lady smiled through her tears and joined Craig on the sofa. ‘Yes, your daddy is with her, but…’
‘But what? She’s dead, isn’t she? I didn’t say goodbye to her. Daddy couldn’t save her. I’ll never see her again.’
‘No, Craig, she’s not dead. Stop saying that. They’ve got to operate, but it’ll make her better.’
‘Operate? That means they have to cut her open. That’s what Toby at school said they did to his grandad and his grandad died. They only cut people open when they’re going to die.’
‘Craig love, she’s not going to die. Please believe me. She’ll be home in a few days, just you wait and see.’
Craig stared up into the wrinkled face. He wasn’t stupid. Old people lied to make you feel better. Everyone knew that. Granny always lied, like the time when she said she didn’t mind Craig calling Paul ‘Daddy’. He could tell she did. After all, her son, Nathaniel was his real daddy.
Nathaniel. What sort of a name was that? Granny called him Nat. She would have a faraway look in her eye as she rambled on and on about how great he was. Nat the wonderful businessman, Nat the fantastic swimmer, Nat the handsomest man in Britain. Mummy said he was a toerag whatever one of those was, but Granny would never hear a bad word against him. Craig wished he had been able to make up his own mind, but the car crash had robbed him of ever seeing his daddy.
Photos weren’t the same. Mummy didn’t have that many anyway. Granny did. She had lots and lots, especially photos of when Daddy was a baby and at school. Granny said Craig looked like him. He supposed he did. He had the same wispy brown hair and big, brown eyes though he definitely had his mummy’s ears. Granny said it made him look like Mickey Mouse. Mummy said it made him look sweet. Most of the boys at school agreed with Granny.
Paul had been the only daddy he had ever known. He had been three when Mummy had met Paul. Paul was okay. He hadn’t liked him at first, especially the earring. It looked a bit daft. Mummy seemed to like him though and Paul made a fuss of him too, so that was all right.
The telephone interrupted his thoughts. It was Daddy. He was ringing to say Mummy had died. But it wasn’t Daddy. It was Agnes. Granny always took ages talking to Agnes. That was a stupid name too.
Granny replaced the receiver only to grab it again immediately when its ring filled the air. Granny had her back to him, but he was sure he could hear her crying.
Part three next week