The tomcat usually woke her up. It was an intelligent Afghan and knew she was the early riser. Just then it was sitting somnolently at the foot of the bed. Tami rose and padded silently across the room so as not to wake up her husband, who liked his morning lie-ins. As she passed his bedside she pulled the phone out of the hook and took it down to the kitchen. The cat followed closely. She poured its milk and her own cereal while she checked the messages on the phone. He was surrounded by a cloud of females, and it did not bother her, really. But the night before, he had called her Clare… or was it Clara… by mistake. That was a little worrisome. This was the most nerve-wracking moment of her day, she found, but after a few clicks and the restorative bowl of cereal, the world usually came to rights. The cat always finished first and disappeared silently. Tami was used to cleaning up after her males, but first she plugged in the phone.
‘You know that crossword puzzle word we couldn’t figure out?’
‘A 12 letter word for what you do to a friend’s electronic gadget when she’s not looking.’
‘Yes, I thought it was ‘borrowing’ but it just didn’t fit.’
‘Well, it’s “phonesurfing”.’
‘”Phonesurfing!” Is that even a word? that’s just silly.’
He was pretty sleepy, but he caught a late-night movie so that she would be sleeping deeply when he came upstairs. He stood there in the threshold, and widened the crack steadily until her sleeping profile was illuminated by the light from the corridor. She was beautiful. He had proposed on an impulse, on a rebound from an earlier disappointment. He had always wondered if her ‘yes’ was more pity than love… for she had broken up a pretty decent relationship to marry him. He had only spoken about his doubts once, to Charlie, who had told him to get a life. For the last time, he told himself, unplugging her phone from its dock. Back in the corridor he reviewed the text-life of the last twenty four hours. It was the most nerve-wracking moment of his day, he found, but there was nothing to – or from – her ex. It was another satisfactorily banal day, save for a cryptic ‘see ya l8r luv,’ from an unknown Nic. He plugged in the phone and slipped into bed beside his wife, resolving never again to phonesurf. As he drifted off to sleep it occurred to him that Nic might well be a code name, or a middle name for the ex.
Perhaps he’d phonesurf just one more week. Just to be on the safe side…