Just Me and Mom
The light on the phone was blinking and sadly, Josh knew he couldn't wait for Donna to answer, so he picked it up.
He couldn't help the smile that tugged at his lips. "Hey, Mom."
"Answering your own phones?"
"Yeah, well..." Josh leaned toward the doorway and stared at Donna's empty desk, "I've been dragging my feet. You know... it's like-"
"Josh." Her tone broke into his thoughts. "You don't have to explain it, really."
He tried to push away the tears. Tried to hold onto his control. If she had been there in his office, instead of on the phone, he'd have collapsed into her arms... to hell with how others might see it.
"Yeah, thanks, Mom. I knew you'd... understand."
"So, listen... I'm not going to take up too much time. You've been away for a few days and I'm sure you're way behind with... everything that you do. So, I'll just say what I called to say."
Josh leaned against his desk, holding the handset a little tighter as he waited.
"Remember that box I gave you?"
"The box in my trunk?" He had to stifle the laugh that coughed up into his throat. "Of course, I have it-"
"I think you should make one for Donna."
"Mom-" he couldn't say another word. He couldn't, because she was right.
"I'm not kidding you, Joshua. She's going to need it." She took a breath. "And you need to do it for her."
They waited as her words settled into the silence.
Josh sat down on his desk, shoulders curling forward, the weight of too many sleepless nights bending his posture. "Mom?"
He covered his eyes with his hand, shielding himself from the demands of the outside world. The pads of his fingers pressed into his aching temples. Pulling in a breath he found his voice, thick with worry and emotion. "Where do I start?"