Tuesday 14 February 2012

Unexpected Attentions

Lucy Oliver
Mint Tea
The flowers were unexpected.
Phil never sent me flowers when I was his girlfriend, Amy thought, looking at the pink and white roses from her favourite florist. Smiling, she touched the blooms, brushing soft petals against her fingertips. Briefly, she was able to forget her tears of the last week; the hours spent on the sofa cuddling her mobile phone, willing it to ring.
Arranging the flowers in a vase, she picked up her mobile and typed a single word, THANKS. Her finger hovered over the send button, but the phone suddenly beeped and erased the message. Maybe it was too soon to call? She glanced at the cupboard that still held his books, at his coat hanging by the door. She hadn’t tried to return them. He would have to come back - then they could talk, sort out the argument that had started petty, but escalated into something far more damaging. Amy touched her phone, aware that she had been working too late, coming home irritable and expecting him to have cooked dinner.
Closing her eyes, she dozed.
The rattle of the letterbox woke her and as she moved, Amy looked down to see her phone nestled against her heart and realised she must have picked it up in her sleep.
An envelope lay on the hall floor. It held a ticket for a romance film- the type she loved, and Phil hated.
Well that hasn’t changed, she thought, looking at the single stub.
Amy sat in the dark cinema, wondering if she would find him behind her - smiling, saying he was sorry. Her phone beeped a couple of times, annoyingly at the romantic bits, but never rang. She put it on the chair beside her and it stopped beeping, seeming happier. She assumed Phil would be waiting in the foyer, but he wasn’t and she drove home feeling angry and a fool. Why had he left her sitting alone?
A card waited on the doormat when she got back - a special delivery envelope from an internet company. It had a picture of a blue teddy holding a mobile phone.
Inside, it was blank except for a single printed heart. Amy smiled, Phil had always joked she loved her phone more than she did him. Maybe he intended the cinema ticket as a gift; a film he thought she might like to see.
She took a deep breath and called his number. Oddly, her mobile switched off, remaining silent in her hand.
Battery, she thought, picking up her landline and dialling.
‘Amy!’ Phil said. ‘I wanted to call, but I was afraid of making things worse. I love you.’
‘I love you too,’ Amy said, looking at his coat hanging beside her, reaching out to touch it.
‘Do you fancy celebrating Valentine’s Day with me tomorrow?’
‘Yes, I would.’
‘I’ll pick you up at eight. Oh, and you might want to check with that florist you use, they’ve put a transaction on my credit card, but I haven’t ordered flowers since Mother’s Day.’
Amy put the phone down and then jumped as she heard a loud bang behind her. Smoke drifted up from the sofa and she gasped, staring at the charred remains of her mobile phone. The cover had exploded outwards, forming two flaps in the shape of a burned out heart. 
Lucy Oliver is published in Take a Break and Stories for Children magazines, as well as various anthologies. She won Stylist magazine's Micro Fiction competition and is currently working on a historical novel. 

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