She didn’t mean to call you.
She meant to call your brother, so when you call back she answers with a short “Yes, what do you want?” She’s in the madhouse. Your prayers have finally caught up with her – you mean the police have finally caught up with her – she means your father’s evil has finally caught up with her – and she is restrained.
“They did not give me food for 36 hours.”
“You refused it,” you want to say, but you don’t. She already suspects that you’re against her and that’s why she meant to call your brother, so don’t say it. This is no time for the pain of an abandoned teenager, or a bride motherless on her wedding day. “OK,” is all you say, “OK.”
You do not remember what you were doing, but now you find yourself walking. Two hands have reached down and cracked open your head like the sky. Everything is escaping and you try to grasp a thought that will add purpose to your walk and you find yourself at Lidl. Food, you guys need some food.
You fill your basket ignoring the calls that make your phone vibrate in your pocket. You’re throwing everything into the basket, everything you see. I’m a responsible adult filling my fridge, you keep saying this to yourself, but each missed call sends more information skittering from your head through the splintered chasm for all the world to witness. They will watch you and realise that you’re clearly having a breakdown of some sort.
You drop the basket behind an abandoned trolley, briefly worrying about the frozen chips thawing in the aisle, and you answer your phone: “Yes? What? I can’t think – I don’t know. I don’t know what I’m doing, I just need to get home.”
You squeeze past the barrier and out into the night (the chips are still thawing in the supermarket aisle) and as you walk the tears come, the anger squeezes a few out. The tears come and you moan and groan unintelligibly to God above the clouds, above your lost thoughts dancing off into nowhere, above your mother refusing to sleep in a room with a lock, above everything.
Then you get home and you refuse to talk about any of it.