“Come here, baby girl.” It’s the first time I’ve heard her talk to her kids, or that I’ve heard the voice of them.
“My alarm just rang,” she says, and I hear kissing and then giggling. “A blue-eyed monster just put her cold feet on me.” She laughs, and then I hear her again. “I’m not a monster; I’m Daisy.”
“You’re right; it’s going to be a good day,” I tell her as she disconnects and goes to do her mom thing. She sends me a picture ten minutes later. It’s the first time she’s sent me a picture of herself, but it’s really not of her, it’s of a coffee cup in front of her lips, hiding what looks like a smile, her eyes cut off. I laugh when I see what the cup says,
‘It’s a great day for a great day.’
I text her back right away.
You might be right. Happy painting.
The rest of the day goes by so fast, we have four calls, one car accident, and then another fucking cat call. I don’t even see my phone till it’s way after eight, and I see that I have a couple of messages. I open the first one from Crystal.
I need you to go to Nanny’s house and kill her. This fucking house is nothing like the picture, nothing.
I laugh and then click the picture she sent me of inside, and I gasp. I message her right away.
I check my second one from my father.
Can you come over this weekend and help me in the shed please?
I answer that one also with two words.
Then I see Samantha has sent me five messages, and I laugh when I scroll through them.
There is no nice seafoam green.
I even tried to combine two greens. Looks like snot.
I can see why he hated green.
I’m buying it anyway.
Then she sends a picture of her hand on a paintbrush while she paints the wall.
I guess it isn’t that bad, if you’re Shrek.
I laugh and then call her.
“Hey,” I say when she answers, and I hear yelling in the background. “Where are you?”
“I’m at the park. Elliot called and wanted to see the girls. So I brought them to the park.”
“Are you with them?” I ask her.
“Nope, I’m sitting by myself while they run around the playground.”
I picture her sitting on the grass all by herself with the sun shining as her blond hair moves. “How is the painting going?”
She laughs now. “According to Daisy, we should only do one wall, and I agree with her wholeheartedly. What about you? Was your day better?”
“Yeah, Hailey moved today,” I tell her, and she says nothing. “Is it weird talking about her?”
I don’t see her smile, but I hear it in her voice. “You mean weirder than talking to my dead husband’s fake wife’s brother!”
I laugh. “Say that fast ten times.”
“The kids are yelling for me. I’ll call you later,” she says as she disconnects. I look at the phone, and I’m not sure what to think. I’m not sure what is going on, and I don’t have time to think about it because another call comes in.
This time, it takes two firehouses to put out an apartment building up in flames. By the time we get back to the house and shower, it’s too late to call her, and I see she tried to call me twice.
Going to bed. Hope you’re okay.
I close the phone and head to my cot where I dream of every single color of green. When I get up in the morning, I’m so fucking happy it’s the last day of my shift. I get up and look at my phone and see that she hasn’t called me. So I call her and it goes straight to voicemail. I don’t bother leaving a message, and by the time I get home, she still hasn’t called. I’m going to be honest—she’s got me worried. I wait till it’s after nine and try again.
I call her back, and this time, she answers. Gone is my bubbly girl, and in her place is the devastated person she was before.
“I really hope they sleep well after that,” I tell Elliot as we walk home from the park. We, or better yet, he just spent two hours running around the park with them.
“It’s good to see them,” he says as Daisy and Lizzie walk in front of us. “Daisy’s getting so big.”
“No one is stopping you from seeing them,” I tell him. “I would never do that to them. Family is very important to me.”
“I know Mom and Dad miss them also.”
“So then why haven’t they called them? Why haven’t they shown up to see them?” I ask him as we slowly walk back. I try to keep my voice down so they don’t hear me.