Thursday, 6 June 2019

The Phone Rang Twice

by Lynn Clement

bitter orange

The phone rang for a second time but I still didn’t get up. I’d left it in the kitchen after I’d dropped the pan of boiling potatoes all over the floor. My hand hurt even after running it under the cold tap and my toes looked like those pink shrimps from Iceland, that my mother used to buy for Christmas day. I’d had my cry and a scream but now I was drained, unlike the potatoes that hadn’t even made the colander. Yet one more incident, one more accident, one more rubbish thing that’s happened lately. I’m done.

No, phone, I am not going to answer you, and get a load of verbal about why I haven’t made it into work again or paid the car tax or made my doctor’s appointment or…. You can stay there and ring to your heart’s content. -  ‘Ring,’ it’s funny how we still say ‘ring’ even though most phones have totally different tones to a ring. Mine barks.

Freddy was so lovely. I adored that pooch with his floppy little ears and twitchy nose and the way he looked at me as if he understood everything I said. - Another bark – someone is persistent. ‘Get lost,’ whoever you are.

I look at the orange curtains, glowing like a furnace with the sunlight trying to get through. It’s stifling. I’ve not quite drawn them together well enough, as a small slice of light is playing on my glass coffee table. I push my iPad into the slash and it dulls.

My eyes are tired. It would be so easy to close them and go. I might see Freddy. Do I believe in all that? I don’t know. I don’t believe in anything much anymore. It’s too hard to keep trying.

My stomach gurgles the way a sink does when it’s emptying. I’m empty, yet my head weighs so much. I curl my legs up on the chair and lay my heavy head down on the arm. It’s not soft and my ear hurts.

A ping wakes me. I’m not moving; I know it’s the iPad. It’ll only be one more nasty comment. I don’t know why it chooses to let me know that someone else thinks I’m a bitch or a cow or an ugly f***ing dog murderer. 

Why are they called trolls? Big feet? Little bodies? Or something else?

The phone barks again. Closing my eyes I see Freddy under the wheels of the car. I’ll never drive it again. I’m sorry I reversed over him. I didn’t mean to hurt him, he was my neighbour. I kind of loved him. Grief does funny things to people; my mother always said it can send some a bit loopy. My neighbours are loopy. Loopy with grief for Freddy. So loopy they’ve turned into trolls.
One more bark and then it stops. I keep my eyes closed and wait for the dark.

About the author

Please see Lynn's page here. 


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