A few days later my phone rings and I jump to answer it. It’s Jayden! At last.
“Hi, Jay,” I say, trying not to sound as though I’ve run a marathon to get to the phone.
Oh, no. It’s not a great connection. He sounds as though he’s speaking from the bottom of a deep hole. It’s so hard trying to have a conversation like this.
“How’s it going out there?” I ask, as cheerfully as I can manage. “Still having a fantastic time?”
“So fantastic you wouldn’t believe!” he says enthusiastically. “This place is amazing. The grounds are so big and beautiful, and the buildings look like an old mansion or something. And I can’t believe the facilities. There’s even a surfing club. I’m learning to surf – can you believe that?”
“I’m sure you’ll be really good at it,” I say supportively.
Jayden is a natural sportsman. There’s nothing he can’t do. But up until now, soccer has always been his favourite thing. Sounds like surfing is on its way to replacing it.
“And how are things with you, ‘Toya?”
I swallow against the bittersweet pain of hearing him call me ‘Toya again. He’s the only one who says that. I’ve missed it so much.
“All the better for hearing your voice,” I say at last. “Why don’t you call more often, Jay? I’m missing you so much.”
Oh, great. Now I sound like a nagging girlfriend. Way to go, Latoya.
“I’ve sent you an SMS every day,” he says defensively. “They’re keeping me really busy here. There’s not always time to phone. My schedule is so full.”
I feel like saying that anyone can find time in their day for a five-minute phone-call, but I don’t. I sound whiney enough as it is.
“Everything is fine here,” I say, trying to be upbeat. “Amanda and Connor are still going strong, but they’re very wrapped up in each other. School is the same as normal. I got an invitation to go to a LAN party with that new guy, Tendai, but of course I said no.
“Oh? But, why? You should totally go to that,” Jayden sounds a bit distracted. I’m sure I can hear someone calling him in the background. “Tendai’s a cool guy and you love gaming. You really need to make more friends, ‘Toya. Listen, I’ve got to go now, but I’ll call you again soon, okay? Bye!”
I put down the phone with a thoughtful frown on my face.
WHAT DO YOU THINK? Is Jayden being a bit insensitive about Latoya’s needs, or do you think he’s just busy and excited?