Telephone

On Wednesday, she waited for the phone to ring. She sat on a wooden chair near it, leaning forward, with her hands in her lap and her eyes focused on it as if the console itself would rise up and speak to her. Her breathing was slow and audible, a whisper like wind through tall grass. Seven o’clock became eight, eight nine, nine ten. At eleven, she closed her eyes for a few seconds, and when she opened them, she stared intently at the telephone for a few more. Then she sighed, reached over and turned off the lamp on the table beside the phone. Through the sudden darkness, she peered at the place where the phone stood a little longer before rising and walking slowly, resolutely up the stairs.

In her room, she quietly undressed, stepped out of the soft suede slippers, unbuttoned the red silk shirt that hung a bit too big on her small frame and draped it over the back of a chair. The black skirt that had been tied at the waist fell to the floor with a swish. She stood naked, goose bumping in the moonlight that filtered into her room through the sheer curtains. Beneath the covers of her bed, she promptly fell asleep.

Morning poured through those same curtains when she woke, the white light of the early sun both warm and chilly in its clarity. She pulled back the covers, and the coolness of the room sent up goose bumps along her arms and thighs and across her back. Her breasts stood against her chest impertinently as she tied a cotton robe around herself. In the mirror of her vanity, she looked at herself for a couple of minutes, letting the loneliness and disappointment of the previous evening wash over her.

Downstairs, the telephone sat as silently as it had the night before, the cold black plastic dull in the bright light of the early sun. She took a seat on the sofa near a window and looked at it. Calmly, she stood, walked over to it and reached down behind the table. With the phone under her arm, its cord wrapped securely around it, she headed outside into the sweet spring air of the garden. She watched the heavy plastic sink into the goldfish pond, bubbles escaping from the holes in the receiver as it disappeared beneath the weeds.

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