When Errol called, wanting to talk, Odetta felt uneasy. ‘Is it about Gary?’
‘I’m not trying to open old wounds, O. I just want to tell you what’s been happening.’
‘Alright, Errol. Let’s meet tomorrow.’
She slept fitfully that night. Gary hadn’t just let her down. He’d dived into a mire of irresponsibility and dragged her down with him. Even getting ready to meet Errol reminded her. Gone were most of her nice things. She hid her hard-set expression beneath pharmacy-brand lipstick.
Errol said she was looking good.
‘Don’t bullshit me, E. I look like crap.’
‘You look OK. Really.’
‘Thanks.’ She kissed his cheek before taking the seat he’d offered. ‘You’d better tell me what you think I ought to know.’
‘Gaz asked if I’d talk to you. He’s missing you. I told him it was a bit late. But he is getting help. I think he’s stopped punting. He’d like to see you.’
Odetta rubbed her forehead. ‘Why?’
‘He’s lonely. He’s trying to get things together.’
‘If we had kids there’d be a reason. But there’s no reason. Not for me. He was a bad choice then. He’d be worse now.’ She looked at Errol and wondered what might have been. ‘So how’s the family, E?’
2011—Richard Holt / small stories about love (smallstoriesaboutlove.wordpress.com)