The Call Of The City – Episode 32

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Meg sighed.

“Grace, love, I’ve done my best to live with the way things are. I don’t have it in me now to reach out. I’m sorry.”

Grace was silent for a moment and Meg swallowed the lump in her throat.

She hated the thought that she’d disappointed her daughter, but she knew how much emotional strength she had, and right now Andrew needed it all.

“That’s OK, Mum,” Grace said quietly. “I’m sorry for asking, and putting pressure on you. I didn’t mean to.”

Meg sniffed.

“Oh, love, you don’t need to apologise. I’m sorry I’m . . .” She didn’t know how to finish the sentence. “Maybe when your dad is feeling better.”

“How is Dad?”

“He’s managing. His surgery is scheduled in a few weeks. I think we’ll both be glad when it’s over and he’s on the road to recovery.”

If he could make a full recovery. The consultants had made no promises, only saying that this was Andrew’s best option.

But Meg didn’t want to worry Grace with that kind of talk. She tried not to think of it too much herself.

“I’ll call again when Dad’s around,” Grace promised. “I want to talk to him.”

“And you should talk to Kerry,” Meg said.

She knew her older daughter had not telephoned Grace with news of her pregnancy, even though she was nearly halfway through already.

Meg had urged Kerry to tell her, but for some reason she kept putting it off. Meg hated the thought that a distance was opening up between Kerry and Grace, just as it had with her and Juliet.

Perhaps it didn’t take a big falling out to create these spaces between siblings. Perhaps all it took was time and distance to drift.

After saying goodbye to Grace, she gazed outside at the leaf-strewn garden; it was only mid-September but there was already a nip in the air, and the leaves were turning.

Meg had had a go at raking them up herself, but it was hours of work and her back had soon started aching from the effort.

Andrew still wouldn’t talk about selling the house, even though she’d mentioned it weeks ago.

And now what if Juliet had something seriously wrong with her? Neuro-oncology sounded so alarming.

Was Meg being a coward or worse, by saying Juliet should reach out first? Was

it wrong of her to do nothing now – just as she had, all those years ago?

To be continued . . .