‘It really isn’t nice that you are not taking the time to answer your mother. Are you busy?’
I almost thanked mother for giving me the perfect excuse: an excuse that could easily be found out to be false, but it is worth the try. ‘Yes, as a matter of fact, yes’ I answer, walking away from the camera still facing me ‘I am quite busy. I am sorry. But I am fine, believe me. My mobile was a bit slow today, so I didn’t use it much. That’s all. Thanks for the call’ that is a goodbye, and I hope my mother will get it.
‘Get it fixed, then! You wouldn’t want people suspecting, would you? You do remember what happened to your cousin, I am sure.’
Oh, my cousin. I knew we would come to this eventually: because of course we would. It took its time; the subject slowly travelled in waves from her end to mine, but here it is. I could never understand how she could be so sure of what had happened to Laura, or how quickly she could turn tragedy into a weapon of her favourite war game of passive aggressiveness.
I have to be calm. Sometimes I wish I could talk to her the way she talks to me, but I know that it would only lead to more arguments and more mind games. ‘Yes, mother, you never let me forget that. Thank you. But I’m busy, remember? Talk to you soon’ I say, already reaching for my wristband, allowing her to say her hastened goodbyes. Why do our conversations end like this every time?
I don’t remember her being like this when we were younger. I don’t remember her being this bitter, this judgmental: I don’t remember her caring so much about appearances and so little about the actual state of things and people. Was she always like this, and I just failed to notice? No, it can’t be. I think she was different, she must have been. I think her planned obsolescence changed her, and so did the deposit for obsolescent people. They treat you different over there, from what I’ve heard, but she doesn’t talk much about it: she talks as if it were all fun and games and new friends and hobbies. She has never invited me to visit her either, and sometimes I think it’s for the best. I wish she were dead, sometimes. Wouldn’t it be easier to deal with the sweet memory than with the bitter existence and persistence?
Still, I have to give her something. I have to give everyone who follows me something, to let them know life goes on as planned. I hope she meant that as a caring warning, as a soft reminder that yes, it is silly, but I have to follow the rules, unspoken or otherwise. I hope. And if so, she is probably right. But I don’t feel like doing it; not today.
My wristband vibrates again. It’s a message from an unknown sender, and it says “Dear Olivia, you haven’t updated your stream in more than 24 hours. Come back soon and check out what you’re missing!”. I don’t remember receiving a message like this one, not once, and it doesn’t seem like it’s a notification from any of my mobile’s apps either.