He knew he hadn’t replied. He’d meant to do it yesterday. He’d put it in the mental list he’d made while eating his toast that morning, laden with thick cut marmalade – the one she hadn’t liked – just before a blob of it landed on his tie. Then the car hadn’t started, which added engine grease to the same tie, and made him late for work. His boss hadn’t been understanding, and it was only after he’d managed to look at the clock for the first time through the slowly diminishing paperwork piles on his desk that he realised it was in fact quarter past five and he was late picking up his son from after school football – something he hadn’t had to worry about before she’d gone. Fortunately his son had company when he’d got there, and hopefully the friend’s mum wouldn’t tell his now not-sister-in-law. He’d burnt the tea, broke a plate trying to avoid the glass he’d just broken while he was loading the dishwasher, and then, as if by way of encore, stubbed his toe on the kitchen table leg in his efforts to avoid the shards all over the floor. This meant that he impaled most of them in the soul of his socked foot anyway as he struggled to balance himself and not yelp in pain within ear shot of his son, whose X-Box was the only thing consuming enough to forget this life they were living right now. He’d avoided spilling wine all over his catch up paperwork in the evening, but realised later that he had made a chocolate cake smudge on most of the corners. Moist wipes can only do so much.
When he’d fallen into bed that night, just before he dropped off, he remembered he still hadn’t replied to her message. After their first meeting in the supermarket, when he’d knocked the box of cakes out of her hands leaving them jumbled and smeared across the cellophane window, he didn’t quite believe she was interested enough to ask for his number. She’d chuckled as he’d picked them up and replaced them with fresh unjumbled ones, and she had thanked him again when they met in the lengthy checkout queue a few minutes later. A ‘happy accident’ she’d called it, while the shopping waited in neat reusable bags in their respective trollies as they’d swapped numbers. Her smile told him she meant it, too, somehow.
I’ll remember tomorrow, he thought, before the snoring made him forget again.