Screens. A collection of very short stories - 3


After her working day, Barbara was in no mood for a chat. Still, she answered the phone when she saw it was her mother calling. Stifling a sigh, she said, “Hey mom. How are you?”
“Hello, dear. I’m fine. Just wanted to let you know I’m back home.”
Barbara poured herself a glass of Chardonnay and settled on the cherry-coloured Bespoke sofa in the living room. She listened dutifully to her mother talking about her stay in London: the concert in the Royal Albert Hall, the stroll through St. James’s Park with subsequent tea and scones in the “Inn The Park” café, the crowd, the noise, and Selina’s cats were fine, it seemed.
“I hope you pulled out the key when you left, mom!” Barbara finally interrupted her mother’s detailed account.
“Dear me, yes! I checked twice before heading for the train station!”
“Good. We don’t want Selina to come back from Berlin and discover someone has emptied her flat thanks to her gran, do we?”
Her mother gasped with horror at the mere thought. Barbara had a minute’s respite to sip her wine. Then, her mother started to prattle about all the kitchen items Selina had apparently purchased. “Selina’s become a neat and clean young lady, let me tell you, Barbara! And so nitty-gritty! If I didn’t know it, I wouldn’t believe she’s your daughter.”
“Nitty-gritty? Selina?” Barbara laughed despite herself. “How’s that?”
“Well, for instance, she’s put that modern cutting board right next to her bread bin in the kitchen. Very handy, I daresay, when one wants to prepare a sandwich—”
After five minutes, Barbara decided she’d invent a stew she needed to stir, kissed her mother good-bye and finally leant back, closing her eyes and enjoying her Chardonnay.
The wine was chilled just to perfection.
Selina called the next morning. “Hi mom! Back from Berlin!” she panted. “We landed at 3 a.m., and now I’m on my way to work… Running as we speak, in fact. ‘Roll on bedtime’ is all I can say.”
“Nice of you to call, however. Enjoyed Berlin?”
“Awesome, mom! Will send you snapshots from my iPhone when I’m in the tube, okay?”
“Alright, darling. Everything’s okay with your flat?”
“Yes. Granny’s been a darling! Even emptied the dish-washer before leaving. Oddly enough, however, she left plenty of bread crumbs on my iPad in the kitchen…”

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