I guess for some people even walking out the front door to the letterbox without their mobile phone feels like they’ve had a limb cut off. In fact for some people I think it’s worse than losing a child because I’ve seen some people walk away from a car with their kids still inside but their mobile phone in their hand. But whatever others feel for their phones for me that’s far from the case. I actually like leaving my phone at home sometimes, if feels good knowing the rest of the world can’t reach me. So leaving my phone at home while I went to the restaurant for dinner was not a huge thing for me, leaving it there while I knew Téa was ringing was just icing on the cake..
Given the restaurant was only about a ten minute walk from my front door it’s not like I was crossing the country without a means to contact people and the neighbourhood I live in is more than safe enough to wander without be attack. I guess what I’m trying to say is that leaving my phone at home because I really didn’t want to talk to Téa was not a big drama.
Several times during the short walk to the Stuffed Dumpling I thought about Téa’s call. We’d exchanged numbers years ago and in all that time I could never remember her ringing the land line and she’d only ever rung the mobile when we’d met up on holidays or once to wish me happy birthday. We’d spoken on the internet, voice, video and text, but international calls cost money and the way Téa could talk the internet was just easier.
Did that mean that she really was desperate to get hold of me? Desperate to apologise for what she did to me in 1983? Was I being unfair not answering her call? Did she deserve better? Did I deserve better?
Lucky it was a short walk to the Stuffed Dumpling because I didn’t have the answers to those questions and they didn’t seem to want to go away without answers. It was also lucky I knew the way to the restaurant without having to think too hard about it. But I think the luckiest part of it was me hearing the blast of the car horn as I aimlessly stepped off the kerb in front of a moving car. I had actually been so engrossed in the thoughts and search for answers that when I got to the intersection of Parker and Tyler streets I forgot to press the button and wait for the little man to change from red to green.
I stepped back and thought, a rather silly thought, “Imagine how Téa would feel when she got the message saying “I can’t come to the phone right now, because I’m dead!” Would she forgive me for ignoring her first few calls?”
A few moments later, with the permission of the little green man, I walked across Parker street and almost directly into the front door of the Stuffed Dumpling. I must say now, if you ever have a chance to go to the Stuffed Dumpling on the corner of Parker and Tyler streets do it because the meals really are superb. I had a satay entree that consisted of three skewers of the best satay chicken I have ever had and a main course of Honey Peppered chicken with special fried rice, but you probably didn’t need to know that unless you are planning a visit. Are you? Ok no more about my meal.
So it was between mouthfuls of the mouth watering Honey Peppered Chicken, while I was savouring the sweet warmth of honey and soy sauce glaze, waiting for the roughish texture of the black pepper to break through as I bit in to the soft and tender chicken pieces, that another thought came to me.
“Where was the old lady?” I nearly said it out aloud for the entire restaurant, or at least those around me, to hear, because I was so surprised at the thought.
Where had she been during that last time jaunt? I know we had only been on one other time jaunt but the old lady who was chasing us was always there, well maybe not always be she seemed to turn up if we stopped for too long. I was stopped in the one place for a quite a long time during my visit to 1983, I was even asleep for some time, yet I didn’t remember seeing the old lady. Why not?
Then another thought dropped. Téa had warned me that the old lady wouldn’t give up, she wanted the dial and she wouldn’t rest until she had it, both in our time or any time we went to. Remember I explained all this in great detail when I described how the dial works?
Anyway Téa thought I was safe from the old lady on the other side of the world in real time but the old lady did know where Téa lived and therefore she might not have been so safe. What if Téa was actually ringing me to warn me about the old, or worse ringing to tell me I needed to do something with the dial to help her escape the old lady?
Because the lines of possible and impossible were so blurred it didn’t take me long to convince myself that my thoughts might actually have some weight to them and that Téa could really be trying to get hold of me for help and not to apologise for what she did.
I felt a pang of guilt hit me in the stomach as the thought bounced around, luckily the next mouthful of food landed squarely on that pang and shut it up.
Previous story here.