That evening, James and Penny went back into Santa Fe as planned. They ate a meal in a charming little contemporary Mexican cafe and enjoyed a couple of local beers. Making their way back to the RV by about 10pm, they opened another beer, put a little music on and settled in for another relaxing night, reading and route planning. James was leaning more towards the latter of his journey decisions to take in the surrounding villages between Santa Fe and Grand Canyon. Penny, who observed this growing obsession with affectionate amusement, was happy to be taken wherever and however; a self-confessed control freak, this was an unusual experience for her and she was loving it.
Midnight approached and it seemed like bed time – however, James had discovered that his phone had no charge on it and as tomorrow was a travelling day they would need something for an alarm clock. So Pen turned on her phone, which had been switched off up till that point. She had just turned it on and put it on the table when it rang. Confused, Pen looked at her phone to see her Dad’s number calling. Ordinarily she might not have bothered answering, but this seemed odd. He knew they were abroad, and what’s more, midnight in Santa Fe meant it was about 6am back home. She answered, putting the phone on speaker:
“Penny? It’s Dad…
He paused. He sounded odd, his voice wavered.
…Is James with you?”
“Yeah he’s right here…”
“You’re sure, he’s right there with you?”
“Yeah, Dad what is it?”
“What? Your mum??”
Richard’s mother was 92 and had been in poor health for some time
“The diabetes caught up with her”
“Wait, Dad, who? Joan or Anna??”
Penny dropped the phone and screamed. It was a horrible noise. Pure, hysterical, uncontrollable shock.
They were falling.