For Whom the Phone Rings (Niki does ‘wine by phone’)

Chapter 10

After working a night shift, my soundest sleep occurs between 10 am and noon.

At 11 am the ringing of our landline phone wakes me. Drowsily, I pick up thinking it could be the school calling about Maddie. What if she’s sick, or hurt? But I forgot, the school only has Simon’s and my cell phone and work numbers. The landline is for Maddie.

It’s my sister, Raquel.

“Hullo?” I slur.

“Dammit, I woke you up, didn’t I? I’m sorry. I never know when you’re working.”

“It’s okay. I forgot to turn down the ringer.”

“Niki, why don’t you get rid of your landline and just use cell phones like normal people?”

“Because Simon and I think Maddie is too young for a cell phone. The landline is for Maddie.”

“You’re gonna have to let her grow up one of these days, Nik.”

“And this is why you woke me up?”

“No, I’m just checking in. Are you off tonight? Wanna do wine by phone?”

“Yeah, I am. Wine by phone is perfect. After dinner?’

“Yep. We’ll talk then. Goodnight, or whatever.”

“Goodnight.”

***

Raquel and her family live south of us, in La Jolla. It takes two hours to get there, depending on traffic, and the day of the week. It’s too far for us to get together regularly, so Raquel and I started wine by phone. Once a week or so, we each open a bottle of wine, and talk by phone for an hour or more. We sit in our kitchens drinking wine while catching up one each other’s lives. Our husbands and children are forbidden to interrupt wine by phone unless they are bleeding severely about the face or neck.

Besides being my sister, Raquel is my best friend.

“So Doll, things must be a lot better now that Simon’s working again, right?”

“Yeah, I think so. He’s happier for sure. He’s cut down on watching sports now that he has lesson plans and paperwork to do in the evenings. He helps Maddie with her homework more too. He’s preparing her for classes at Woodman next year. She loves the attention.

“What about you, Nik? Are things heating up a bit for the two of you?”

“I guess. I mean there’s more to talk about now that Simon’s working and has stories about his day. He’s spending time on his appearance again, and getting more exercise since he’s coaching too. If this lasts, maybe we’ll try to have another baby, although there’d be a big age gap between Maddie and a new brother or sister. Then again, we really should put money away for a down payment on a house. But there’s saving for Maddie’s college education too. I don’t know. I can’t seem to make up my mind. I think the weekend trip in Coronado will help. Thanks for taking Maddie for us”

“Niki, why don’t you stop worrying about the future so much and just make love to the man?

Silence.

“Right. Okay, so, how’s work? Are you still having breakfast with that ER nurse, what’s his name again?”

“Corey. Yeah, we go for breakfast once a week or so. Sometimes another nurse or two come along.

“Is Corey cute? Have you hooked up with him yet?”

“What? No! I mean, yeah he’s cute. No, we’re not hooking up. He has kids. He’s married.”

“So are you Niki.”

“What are you saying Raquel? What are you getting at?”

“Nothing Niki. Nothing at all. Don’t get all defensive.

We’re happy to have Maddie for the weekend when you and Simon go to Coronado. So when are you going to get her a cell phone?”

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