The Ties That Bind – Episode 26

Characters from the serial, Evelyn and Simon

“Lynda? Oh, hi – lovely to hear from you.”

Evelyn was genuinely delighted and took the phone over the sofa to make herself comfortable.

“It’s ages since we had a chance to chat.”

“I wasn’t sure if you’d feel like talking,” Lynda said. “Simon told me you’ve been under a lot of pressure because Phil’s been signed off with stress.”

“Did he?” Evelyn was surprised.

“He hasn’t told everyone,” Lynda assured her, as if reading her mind. “It was only when I mentioned I hadn’t seen you for a while that he told me.

“I’m sorry, Evelyn. It must have been a shock.”

Evelyn sighed.

“Yes, Phil’s been signed off for at least a month, but he’s being a bit – difficult.”

“Difficult how?”

“He doesn’t want to take the pills he’s been given and he gets annoyed when I try to persuade him.”

There was a pause.

“Is it your place to persuade him, Ev?” Lynda asked warily.

“I’m worried about him, Lynda. He’s lost interest in everything.

“The doctor recommended counselling, but he refused to go. There are classes at the clinic, rehabilitation activities, but he’s not interested.”

“Maybe they’re not Phil’s cup of tea,” Lynda reasoned.

“But it’s more about giving him some focus. He has to do something to keep his mind occupied,” Evelyn explained.

“If he was staying here, I’d be able to give him a job to do each day . . .”

“I hope you didn’t suggest that he move back into your place?” Lynda sounded anxious.

“I am tempted,” Evelyn confessed.

“Why? You don’t want to go down that route again!”

“Of course not, but Phil has no other family – only a couple of elderly aunts in Carlisle who he hasn’t seen for years.

“So I’ve been going round every other day – I alternate with Dan.”

“Evelyn, I know you’re concerned about Phil, but you mustn’t let it take over your own life,” Lynda warned her.

“It’s not your problem – you’re not married any more. Well, technically, you are, but that’s not the point.”

She paused and Evelyn could almost hear her gearing up to tell her some home truths.

“I know it’s a difficult situation and I really do feel sorry for Phil, but you have your own life to lead.

“And if you keep going round, you might be – giving him false hope.”

“That’s what Dan says.” Evelyn murmured.

“And Simon,” Lynda put in.

“Simon . . .?”

“Yes – he was telling me about the time he gave you a lift to Phil’s a couple of weeks ago.”

“He offered.” Evelyn was nettled. “It was an emergency. Dan –”

“Evelyn, I know that. And Simon knew that,” Lynda assured her. “But perhaps you shouldn’t still be going round.”

Evelyn felt a sudden wave of tiredness wash over her. Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, it was extremely wearing.

“Perhaps you’re right.”

“Don’t forget, you’re supposed to be concentrating on your career, too,” Lynda said. “Weren’t you considering what to specialise in?”

“I haven’t had a chance to think about it, with all this going on,” Evelyn admitted.

“What you need is a change of scene,” Lynda said more cheerfully.

“That was the other reason I phoned. Are you free next Thursday night? Someone at work has organised another quiz.”

Evelyn brightened.

“Yes, that’ll be great. I finish at four and I’m off on the Friday.”

“Brilliant. Simon’s going, too.”

“Is he? Oh, good.” Evelyn murmured, wondering why he hadn’t mentioned it.

“It was originally just a work thing, but a few people had to drop out, so it’s been opened up to friends and families,” Lynda then explained.

“I see.” Evelyn brushed the niggling question away. “Well, thanks, Lynda. I’ll look forward to it.

“I’m seeing Simon tonight, actually. We’re going to the theatre,” she added.

There was another pause.

“Hello . . . ?”

“Sorry, Evelyn – a delivery guy just went past my window.

“I’ll have to go,” Lynda said hurriedly. “See you next Thursday.”

“OK. Thanks for phoning, Lyn. It’ll be good to see –”

But Lynda had already hung up.

To be continued…

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