Let's say there are two parents, long-divorced, in different states, with a grown son. Now, they think their son was killed in an accident the night before, but then the son calls the father on the telephone.
How would the father tell the son that the mother is very upset? "Your mother's worried sick," sort of rings false for me, it doesn't imply enough despair (after all, she thinks her son is dead), or distance. I've noticed that divorced parents usually refer to the other parent as "your mother" or "your father," but "worried sick" seems too much to me like they are in the same place and really know how the other are feeling.
The story is about emotional distance, to some extent, so I would like to get this small detail right.
UPDATE: I'm going with sirriamnis's excellent "Your mother is losing her mind," for its wonderful overtones of contempt and dismissal, combined with the overall theme of being lost that I am exploring here. The actual line will appear in Cloudhopper 046:
Which you can see from the broken link above is not done yet, but it will appear in this space when I finish it (probably about a month from now).
You can read the entire story so far at
I finished 033 yesterday so I will do 046 as soon as I do 034 through 045...
Thanks everyone! That was very helpful