Jenny can’t find her phone. Usually she leaves it on the dresser in their room, but between getting home last night and getting up this morning its whereabouts escaped her. Which is nothing new to her lately; she’s noted to Steven that she would walk into rooms with clear objectives only to lose the very thought before she’s cleared the threshold. She’s joked with him that maybe 34 is it for her, that Alzheimers is setting in and he should keep all her text messages and emails for posterity because soon she wont remember that she ever loved him at all.
She asks Steven if he has seen the phone. He is shirtless on the couch again, his jogging pants on, and looking up at her with confusion in his eyes.
“You’re phone? Not on the dresser?”
“Nope.” She puts on the water for coffee, takes the Bodum form the drying rack and scoops grounds into it.
“Is this your Alzheimers again?”
“Haha” she says, but without any real humour in it.
“Wait,” Steven gets up. “Wait.” He walks to her. Holds her by the shoulders. “You don’t have a phone? You told me this morning that you hate cell phones and are glad you don’t have one. You don’t remember.” He puts a hand on her forehead like he is taking her temperature.
Pulling away, and laughing. “That is not how you check for Alzheimers.”
“Oh. My bad.” He says, and reaches in her shirt to hold cup her breasts. “Yes, yes.” he says, in a concerned Doctor-like tone. Cupping their shape, playing with her nipples. “Oh, it would appear it is very serious. You should probably stay home today.”
She is smitten by Steven’s sudden affection, but playfully pushes him away.
She says, “I gotta get ready. I gotta go soon. Look for it will you.”
Holding his hands in the air like someone has pointed a gun at him. “Okay, okay. But as your Doctor, I think you need to spend the day with your boyfriend. I can write you a prescription, or note of some kind.”
Steven didn’t comprehend that last night was the first night in a long time without waking from that stupid nightmare. He immediately feels even better than he usually does after having had sex the night before. He hesitates to assume the dream won’t come back tonight, but for now he wants to revel in it. He is feeling good, real good.
“Yeah- I'm a new man. Maybe everything will be okay," he says. "Is it under your pillow?”
While she rustles in the closet and then the bed Steven moves back to the couch. He lifts the cushions of the couch in his search, he lifts, he drops, and then the next. “Maybe it is in the bathroom?”
Jenny comes out of the bedroom, tying he hair back, she is in her nurse’s scrubs. “No, why would it be in the bathroom- you are the only one who surfs and poops in this relationship.”
“Oh,” says Steven. “I forgot that I could multi-task.” And he tosses a throw pillow at her. She dodges, and leans around the door jam to check the kettle, then goes into the bathroom.
Steven gets on all fours and looks under the coffee table and the couch. He says, “You always get a shower when you come home from work, why do you need to wash your face in the morning?” He slides a hand under the couch, and pulls out his Playstation controller, places it on the table, slides his hand around more and thinks about spiders and pulls it back fast and stands up.
He notices she didn’t answer him, “Hey?”
She says, “I don’t know, because… because I want to be clean.” It sounds almost absent-minded- like he caught her in a thought. The kettle begins to whistle, and she adds, “Can you get that?”
He moves across the living room to the kitchen and takes the kettle off the stove, and turns off the element. Pouring the water into the french press Steven hears a phone vibrate and instinctively looks to his phone on the coffee table, but it isn't his- the sound is coming from the counter. Setting the kettle back, he steps back from the counter to get the whole thing in his view. He pokes the bread aside and he sees her phone, the vibrating ends, and the message stays on the screen long enough for Steven to see:
Don’t forget the coffee. You know you want it.
Jenny calls out, “Did I hear something? My phone?”
Steven, without thinking, puts her phone back under the bread, and says, “No, Mike. It was a text. Mike Texted me a text. On my phone.” he stumbles. “How are you?”
She comes out of the bathroom to the stove, her face clean and shiny from the washing, she says, “Did you put the water- ah, yay! How long has this been steeping?”
“I don’t know.”
Scrunching her face up, “You don’t know?”
Steven leans back on the counter and places his hand around where the bread, and the phone is. “The coffee thing? Yes, uhm- well? Like a million years, maybe. What am I Father Time?”
As she pushes the plunger down she says, ‘Well, I am going to be Father Late if I don’t get my act together.”
Steven: “That’s not a thing right? Father Late? Maybe you can stick to nursing, and I can be the writer, okay.”
She smiles, “Ah, yes. Always working, always working.” Jenny takes two travel mugs from the cupboard and pours the coffee in them.
“No no,” Steven says, “I’ll get a coffee at the office.”
“The coffee shop is not an office, Steven.” She takes both mugs and carries them to the front door. “This isn't for you.”
His fingers inching under the bagged bread and grasping the phone. “Oh. Should I be jealous?” He coughs it out, almost like he didn't even know the words were in him.
Jenny puts on her shoes while holding the coffees, kicking them against each other, and then against the shoe rack to secure them. She ducks a hand under her purse that is hanging on the coat rack and turns to Steven, who is still standing awkwardly in the kitchen where she left him.
She makes what looks to be an exaggerated face like she is hiding something, and says, “Maybe” Stretching the ‘A’ sound for a few seconds, lowering her eyes. Then, “Okay, I’m off. If you find my phone, don’t look in it.” And as she leaves she is laughing, but Steven is not.
....to be continued