‘It’s…No, you can’t. It’s not working,’ he said.
It sounded like a lie to me, but what could I do? It was his phone, and it was his choice. The noise of the bubbling fat filled the silence. I shivered*. What a way to spend Christmas….‘Okay. In that case, can I buy something to eat?’
I could feel myself getting angry. ‘I can wait,’ I said, the words as cold as the night outside.
We stared at one another. Then he gave a long sigh, released the door handle and moved to the fryer. Snatching* up a long, metal spoon, he stirred the contents of the fryer. Then, with his other hand, he raised a basket of fried food, shook it, and plunged it back into the swirling fat. He did this three or four times, paying me no attention at all.
‘Do you have any fish?’
He looked up, surprised. Had he forgotten I was there? He stared at me. In his eyes, there was a question. But instead of asking it, he continued to stare. Then, as suddenly as he looked up, his eyes found the metal spoon. He thrust it into the oil again and again; and as he did so, his face relaxed and he looked strangely happy.
‘There’s no fish,’ he said, his words slow and deliberate*.
‘Well, what do you have?’
He looked up and gave a thin smile. `Two pounds,’ he said, ‘and you can eat it in the back, if you like. There’s a fire in there.’
shivered* – shook because of the cold
Snatching* – picking up quickly
deliberate* – with careful thought, planned