[For a synopsis of the story so far, click here]
“Something’s not right.” Jane flinched as the sound of her mother’s observation rose from the speaker of the telephone receiver that she held up to her right ear. They had barely begun their conversation, Jane not having told her mother anything about her life since that morning she’d heard Mozart coming from her kitchen table. Jane had worried about exactly how she would break the news to her mother, and knowing that her mother already suspected there was a problem did little to ease her apprehension.
Jane regained her composure. “It’s — been a weird week, Mom.” She listened intently for some guiding question, oh dear whatever do you mean by that, but for several seconds all she heard was the static from their connection. The flavor of their conversations was rarely spiced with such meaningful pauses.
“It’s the static.” Of course, Jane thought, and let her mother continue. “You’re not suppossed to get static. If you had a bad connnection you’d be breaking up, but there wouldn’t be — ” Jane, unsure of how to respond, let this second pause continue. “Are you on your land line?”
“Yes.” Jane hadn’t been sure why she’d decided not to use her smart phone to call her mother. She knew from browsing its call history (Wings had shown her how to do that just last night) that she — or at least the she that belonged to this world, the she that didn’t think this world had sacrificed transportation at the altar of telecom — that she’d used her smart phone to call her mother every week. But that evening, when she’d decided that for better or worse she had to have this conversation with her mother, she had instinctively reached for her old familiar gray phone, hanging on the wall next to her refrigerator. She twirled its curly cord in her fingers, playfully. “I’m calling from the kitchen.”
“Is Brad there?” Jane was now annoyed — she’s changing the subject to Brad? And what was going to be harder to say. I’m from another world, Mom, and don’t know how I got here. Or, Brad proposed, and I don’t know what to tell him.