I can hear her calling me from the lounge, her voice echoing through the dark house. She is pretty drunk by now. I had just sat through a 30 minute monologue, punctuated occasionally with a firmly held out hand and “retain, retain” repeated sternly at me. Put another way: shut the hell up and just listen to me talk. I’m good at listening sometimes.
Her calling for me gets louder. Fuck. What if she’s actually fallen or something and I’m just lying here ignoring her. Earlier in the evening she had knocked over a full ashtray and when I’d tried to clean up the mess of cigarette butts and ash she had insisted I just leave it – picking up the empty ashtray and putting it on a side table.
Getting up I sigh inwardly as I see her sitting in her armchair under a pool of light from the lamp, the matching seat next to her empty now, with her iPad in her lap and a fresh drink in front of her. She begins to go on about a hacker, but I’ve already taken my night meds so my brain is in a slight free fall. “He’s a hacker” she yells as she punches the screen with her fingers. “We need to forward these messages.”
I can understand her feelings of paranoia. Don’t worry gran. I feel eyes on us too sometimes. I’m just too drugged up to give a shit right now. Reassuring her that no one really cares enough to hack into our dull lives, I crawl back to bed. A few minutes later I receive a Facebook chain message from her warning me not to accept a friend request from so and so.
Throughout the night I can hear her playing various games on her aging tablet and talking to herself as she frequents the bathroom next to the room I’m in. Her strong British accent floats around hollowly in the dark.
In the morning she asks me if my brother has been in during the night (he lives in the flat across the hall – the one I was in before I moved to Taiwan) because she has found ash all over the lounge floor. I tell her he hasn’t.