Staring at the handset failed to make it any easier. But this time… surely she’d see through her own bluff?

Thinking, indeed promising myself that this would be the last, definite, final time that I phoned, and actually believing once again that I would get a positive response, I dialled.

After the rotations finished, I listened to the line’s crackle over the sound of my pulse. A new start.

The phone rang harshly at the other end of the line. The handset slipped in my hand. I looked in the mirror, and saw that my face was paling as the phone was picked up at the other end.

Amended 1 May 2005, 19 November 2020
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