Call Me…

He has had this dialogue with her nearly every morning as far as he can remember for the last 31 years. And yet she asks with a defiant sort of hope everyday if he really needs a second cup of coffee after breakfast.

“If you don’t mind!”, he says with a slight grimace like always. She pours him another cup of coffee then and sighs, just a little bit. He broods silently- is he supposed to feel guilty over this simple pleasure?  One of these days he is going to say no, just to hear her reaction. About time she felt guilty over the way she makes such a big deal over such a harmless pleasure.

“See you then”, he says as he gathers his bag and straightens his tie in the hallway mirror. He catches sight of her through the mirror – her greying hair is tied back, her glasses have vapour on them courtesy the hot water she is running to do the dishes and her housecoat looks faded. She nods in reply and reminds him to check his phone and keys.

“I won’t be around for lunch when he gets back from his half-day shift”, she adds.

“Can’t you come back early?” he asks. Like an old habit, like a piece of his past, like the wrinkles on his hand, he now knows no other definition of reality.

“I have my annual lunch with the book-club ladies”, she says.

“Oh well then” , he mumbles. He waits for her “Call me when you get there” that she says on most days as he is leaving. She doesn’t say that today because she is in a hurry and she is amused at his childlike insistence that he wants her home for lunch. You marry a boy, he becomes a man and somewhere along the way he becomes a boy again.

He gets into the car, mildly bothered that she didn’t remind him to call her. He cannot hear very well these-a- days, perhaps she did ask and he didn’t hear her. Ha, let her wait for his call today. Maybe he will say he didn’t call because it is annoying to hear her grumble about the second cup of coffee everyday. A smile spreads across his face at the idea.

He doesn’t see the semi -trailer changing lanes behind him, neither does he hear the frantic honking because he is busy humming. He doesn’t feel anything either and later everyone will agree that it was for the best.

She pauses to look at the phone as she is about to leave for lunch. He is probably downing more coffee at the factory, exultant that she is not around to raise her eyebrows at him. He hasn’t called yet – surely he knows he is supposed to uphold his part of the concord!  She decides not to surprise him by coming home early. She won’t be the one calling him this time, that is for sure.


10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Nithya
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 19:46:09

    How about something with a happy ending for a change? This one did not impact me much honestly, seemed a bit forced. Keep it coming V 🙂


    • scarlettletters
      Aug 07, 2010 @ 19:52:29

      Heya Nits,
      Glad to see you here. I will be honest – this is not one of my favourite ones either…I wrote this a while ago for a 400 word comp 🙂

      Miss A and I were out the whole day and I am too zonked to write now – hence the recycling. Tomorrow will be better, I promise.



  2. Rajavel
    Aug 07, 2010 @ 22:23:51

    Hmm ! Now what do you do ! One says its not good ! and the other accepts it !

    Yet, I think it was a nice piece !


  3. Ardra
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 13:38:21

    Am feeling sad…:-(


  4. scarlettletters
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 13:41:15

    Rajavel, you liked it? Thanks 🙂

    Ardra, how about I write something cheerful now? We cannot have you feeling sad 🙂


  5. Chitra
    Aug 08, 2010 @ 13:57:36

    Beautifully written ! It so tugs the heart!


  6. bilbo
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 01:43:25

    i liked it . though you did end it too seen me feels.
    how about following it up with whether the lady felt guilty about not telling him to call or going on and on about his coffee. 🙂


  7. Gauri
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 12:45:29

    This is something you do so beautifully, Scarlett. Blend reality into fiction with such ease. Reality that so many can relate to.
    “You marry a boy, he becomes a man and somewhere along the way he becomes a boy again.”


  8. scarlettletters
    Aug 09, 2010 @ 12:57:06

    Thanks Chitra and Bilbo.

    Gauri, thank you :))))))))))) If I could pick one thing that redeemed this piece, it would be that line. I am partial to it myself, so thanks 🙂


  9. Aria
    Oct 05, 2010 @ 04:24:25

    I agree with Gauri.. : )
    the way you write; reality or fiction it always seems real and surreal..
    and loved this line ““You marry a boy, he becomes a man and somewhere along the way he becomes a boy again.”


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