This a day out of the life of my father… a few months ago… word by word.
It is 8 am. It must have been the end of the work week. I could feel it in my back. Hopefully, this weekend would involve a little less chores and commands by her than normal. Especially after our arrangement for today. Bathroom time. Haven’t read the sports section thoroughly yet. Ah, peace and quiet. Why was she banging the door now?
Student. Not among my brightest. She was supposed to graduate in a few weeks. Turns out she was short of credits.
“How can you possibly think it is okay to call your professor at 8 in the morning?”
“I live in Plovdiv, it takes me three hours to get myself to your city, I need you to tell me if I should bother showing up to university today.”
Today was planned for me to stay at home and clean. My daughter is coming back from Holland for the summer. So my wife has to clean the entire house. Inside out. And I have to help. Have to. So I will come back from the office at noon. To clean.
The tram was busier than normal this morning. After dropping my bag at the office, I hurried out again. The dentist started poking that bad tooth in the back. It’s the tooth that still hurts me today. My phone rang again. Must be the office, this never ends, I am just not going pick up. Yes, of course he needs to redo the whole tooth he himself worked on two weeks ago. Another ring. Ok, fine, since they are so persistent.
“What are you doing?” The loud, deep voice of my cousin’s wife Teresa boomed on the other side of the line.
“At the dentist.”
“Your aunt died a few minutes ago”
The dentist was drilling a bit softer, or maybe my senses had gone numb.
Back at the office, the moment I sat on my desk my cell phone rang again. That student again.
“Girl, wait for Christ’s sake, I will let you know about your credits.”
I phoned the university. The fat old lady responsible for students’ credits informed me with her usual growl the credits of this student are all in order. My cell phone was on the ringer again. Teresa.
“So about your aunt, will you tell your mother or do I have to?”
“I will call her now”
My wife must have started the cleaning of the house by now. While trying to collect my thoughts and call my mother, the land line rang again.
“Father, can you find me some pictures for my presentation?”
“What? I have no time now, pictures? What pictures?”
The son was in Greece for the weekend.
“I am working on my presentation for that job interview next week, it has to be interactive, make those assistants of yours find me some funny pictures, it is super important.”
“I have no time now, but I will find someone to email you some”
“… and faster cause I need to finish this as soon as possible.”
“Enio, why don’t you……….”
I wondered if my sister has heard the news on my aunt. The conversation was not long. She knew. I was to tell mother. It didn’t take too long either, mother took it calmly. Her sister has been ill for a while now. I could see her skinny dry hands holding a cigarette even now.
Teresa called. Post-it on my screen: funeral, Sunday, 14:00 hrs.
Back home. As I suspected the hysterical cleaning had started already. I put on some home clothes and intervened. Once again, the phone didn’t stay quiet for more than 10 minutes. Ivo, my firm partner, informed me that one of our main clients demand their leaflets be done by Monday.
“What do you mean Monday? They are not even out for print yet..”
“I mean Monday, two days from now.”
Call to a printing-house.
Dust behind the stove in the kitchen, polish the bathroom tiles, pull up the sofa.
Ivo called again.
“I phoned every printing-house we have ever worked with, they are all refusing, no one wants to take up that job over the weekend. We have to tell them we can’t deliver. “
“We cannot do that, major client, we will get discredited. Let me call them”
I called their office. The assistant responsible for this project is in Turkey, the office manager is at the seaside. I phoned the office manager, she called the girl on holiday in Istanbul.
“Oh, the leaflets, yes I didn’t send approval, forgot, see I am sending it now…”
I remembered a printing-house owed me a favor, so at 6 pm I managed to mobilize my team and send the leaflets for print.
My son from Greece again.
“Did you email me my pictures? I never got any of my pictures!”
I called back the office of our client. One of the managers picked up this time.
“We will deliver the first 6000 leaflets on Monday, the next on Wednesday as negotiated..”
“Do whatever you like, I don’t give a shit. My colleague just committed suicide.”