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June 17, 2022

IRL

Briana Newstead

Thu 26 May, 11:28

 

Ma died this morning.

 

I am so, so sorry for your loss.

But…I’m sorry, I think you

have the wrong number.

 

Oh

Right

 

Are you ok?

 

Not really

Have you always had this number?

 

For the past three years.

 

Makes sense. I haven’t spoken to my sister in five.

 

Is that who you were trying to contact?

 

Yeah

 

I’m sorry. I wish I could help.

 

It’s fine, don’t worry. I probably should have guessed she wouldn’t have the same number.

 

I hope you find her.

 

Thanks

 

Sat 28 May, 20:46

Hi. Sorry if this is weird but

I just wanted to check in

and see if you were ok.

I lost someone last year and…

well, anyway. If you wanna

talk to someone you never

actually have to see, I can

listen.

 

Hey

I guess it’s a little weird. But also not?

 

It’s totally weird. So feel free to

tell me to piss off.

 

Lol. Too late. You shouldn’t have asked if you didn’t want to follow through.

 

Sigh. That’s what I get for

pretending to be a nice

person.

 

Pretending?

 

Yeah. I’m actually a total jerk irl.

 

I’ll see your jerk and raise you an arsehole.

 

Interesting… And what exactly

did you do to warrant this

arsehole status?

 

I don’t think we know each other well enough for that story.

Who was it?

 

My brother. He was 16.

 

I’m sorry.

Some days, I really want to murder that word just so I never have to hear it again. But I get why people say it.

 

Yeah. It’s one of those words that

has so much meaning it almost

always has none. But…sometimes

it still does. So thanks.

 

What was your brother’s name?

 

Michael.

What was your mum’s name?

 

Kerry

Kerry Lynn O’Connor

 

Irish?

 

Yeah. Not sure why I told you that. You’re not gonna start stalking me now are you?

 

Can’t. Don’t know your

first name.

 

Evan

 

It’s nice to meet you, Evan.

I’ve gotta go. You take care.

 

Wed 1 Jun, 00:52

 

Are you awake?

 

Well I would be now if I wasn’t already.

 

What, you don’t keep your phone on silent?

 

I do.

 

You’re kind of a moaner, aren’t you?

 

Only when I can’t sleep and

it’s almost 1am.

 

What’s keeping you up?

 

What’s keeping YOU up?

 

I asked first.

 

Bad dreams. I guess. As cliched

as that sounds.

You?

 

My sister.

 

Did you find her?

 

No. Honestly, I don’t even know if I want to look.

Does that make me a bad person?

 

I don’t think so. Depends on your motives?

 

It’ll be easier if I don’t.

I won’t have to face the loss

if I don’t.

 

Sarah.

That’s my name.

 

*pulls up Google to proceed with stalking*

*gets 3 billion search results*

 

🤣

 

It’s nice to meet you, Sarah.

 

Thanks. You too. But I really need

to sleep now.

Good night, Evan

 

Fri 3 Jun, 16:46

 

I found her.

 

Wow… Wow. What are you

going to do?

 

Not a fucking clue.

 

Right, well… What are you feeling

right now?

 

Like someone just ran me over with a bulldozer.

 

Whew. Ouch. Okay… What about

what’s going through your head?

Don’t overthink it, just tell me

what’s there now.

 

My sister’s alive. She has a kid. He looks kinda like me but with blue eyes. Same as our mum.

She’s fucking alive, living in the next city over, and she didn’t once try to reach out even though she knew mum wasn’t going to live through this.

And I’m fucking jealous because she looks happy.

 

Do you want to see her?

 

I don’t know.

Yes. Although at the moment, I’m not entirely sure why or what for.

 

Do you want me to come with you?

 

I don’t even know you.

 

Maybe that’s a good thing?

 

Yeah. Maybe.

I’ll let you know.

 

Fri 3 Jun, 21:14

 

Why do you say you’re a jerk?

 

I thought you’d take that

as a joke.

 

Was it?

 

Not really.

 

What happened?

 

I made my brother get the bus to

school so I could sleep in a few

extra minutes before work.

He didn’t make it to school.

Why do you say you’re an arsehole?

 

I kicked my sister out when my mum got sick.

 

Takes one to know one, I guess.

But I’m also guessing it’s not

that simple.

 

No. It’s not, really.

 

Sun 5 Jun, 12:08

Please tell me you’re free tomorrow afternoon?

 

I’m free tomorrow afternoon.

 

Are you actually, though?

 

I can be. If you need?

 

I need.

 

Ok. Tell me where.

 

West Rimmel station, 4pm?

 

Ok.

 

Mon 6 Jun, 15:52

 

So…I have no idea what you look

like. Also, please don’t kidnap

and murder me.

 

I was about to say the same thing. Glad we’re on the same page.

Dark blond, 6ft 2, black bomber jacket and jeans.

Also, staring at my phone screen.

 

Short red hair, 5ft 4, dark green

jumper and jeans.

 

Red hair.

My mum had red hair.

Why am I more nervous about meeting you than I am about seeing my sister?

 

Expectations, maybe.

The promise of inevitable

disappointment.

 

What makes you think I’ll be disappointed?

 

Because real life always is.

 

I disagree.

This is real life. And no matter what, I’m grateful it was you who ended up with my sister’s old phone number.

 

Me too.

Look up.

 

Hi.

 

Hey.

 

Briana Newstead is a travel industry professional who sometimes blogs about fancy cakes and creative hairstyles, although not at the same time. A long-time resident in London, she originally hails from a small town on the outskirts of Melbourne, Australia, where she and her husband dream of one day retiring by the sea. Briana is currently eye deep in a three book series about relationships, music, healing, and self-discovery.