‘Police been on the phone love … you want to go?’
Cedric shook his head, his gaze never lifting up from his workbench. His wife lingered in the shed’s doorway as if there was more to say. Finally his silence had the desired effect and she left, leaving behind the usual scent of Chanel and Marlboro. Moments later and Cedric heard the Astra’s engine splutter into life, the sound of tires reversing out onto the road.
Cedric put down the screwdriver. In front of him were strewn the innards of the kitchen radio. He didn’t recall taking it apart, or even if it needed to be fixed. If Danny were here now he’d be mocking his efforts, telling him to buy a new one off of ebay, that no one repaired anything these days.
Wiping his hands on a rag Cedric ventured back into the house. Soon the kettle was boiling, a tea bag dangling in his mug. As he poured the water the phone rang. Cedric reached out, his hand hovering, as if the handset was a coiled serpent waiting to strike. Finally the answering machine kicked in, Danny’s voice cheerfully demanding information after the beep. He should change that, it wasn’t right, tomorrow, tomorrow he’d record a new message.
The beep, Cedric stood waiting for someone to talk, yet there was only the sound of breathing, then the phone was put down.
Cedric picked up his mug, retreating back to the shed. The bike was hanging on the wall, as it had been since the police had returned it. The back end crushed, the rear wheel missing. He ran a finger over the crudely scratched marks that Danny had etched into the seat post in case the bike got stolen: DH 12501. Cedric had been so cross with him that day, so hurt that Danny had defaced his gift. They had bickered, stood by the shed, Danny’s face flushed red with resentment at receiving another lecture.
Then he had left, cycling down the road, head down, pedals turning, disappearing into the grey light rain.
Cedric retreated back to his bench, trembling fingers rebuilding the radio.