Wendy sighed and leaned the bus seat back her allotted few cm. As she closed her eyes, her mobile rang. Cripes, that was perfect Murphy’s timing, she thought.
“Yes, speaking,” she said, wondering who on earth was after her this time. Police, letting her know her flat had been broken into? Real estate agent, complaining that the rent was late? She really wasn’t in the mood.
“Ms Young, I’m calling from Byron Bay Hospital – we have a Pete Peterson here who’s named you as his next of kin?”
“What, you want me to identify him? I’m sorry, I can’t face -” she said, and sniffed as the bridge of her nose tingled. Another minute and she’d be crying like a baby, she knew.
“No, ma’am, he’s identified himself – but he asked us to call you. He said you might not know where he was?”
The tears won.
“I’m sorry!” Wendy said through her crying.
Wendy bit her lip, hard, and got some control back.
“I thought he was dead!”
“OH – I’m so sorry, this must have been such a shock, dear, no wonder you’re upset! But look – I need to go, dear, do you have a message for him?”
“Only -” she stopped and sniffed, “I’ll be there as soon as possible. And that I love him. OK?”
“OK dear,” the voice said, “Take care now, and see you soon!”
Wendy hung up.
Here she was on her way back to Brisbane, and Pete was alive in hospital in Byron. Which she was travelling further from every second. She tilted her head back and screamed the most bloodcurdling scream she could manage.