Friday, September 19, 2008

Sunday Scribblings - Invitation

Time for Sunday Scribblings again (see the link on my side bar to read all the entries). The prompt this week is "Invitation". Here is a short story I wrote on the subject:


Invitation to the Past

The light was blinking on the answering machine. She'd kept the land line even though she didn't use it anymore. All of her personal and business contacts came to her cell phone or email.

She'd had the same phone number since 1974. Since she hadn't moved from her home town, she was able to transfer her number with each address change. The question now was why?

Without listening, she knew who it was from. She could hear the sound of his voice, the slightly pleading tone. After almost 30 years, he still called. The old flame. She'd walked away when he cheated on her. No regrets. The first call came in the second year of his marriage; "Can we just meet for a coke? You said we could still be friends." But it was there, just under the surface. The certain knowledge that it was more than coke and conversation that he wanted. She gently closed the door, not wanting to be harsh. "It just isn't a good idea." "I'm seeing someone and he would not like it." "I'll always care for you... yes, we were in love... no, I just can't see you."

Over the years he continued to call, always with the invitation. And always, she was gentle. There was no need to be mean. The past was the past and she held no bitterness. She'd forgiven and forgotten. Maybe that was the problem. She'd forgotten. She'd heard stories over the years. His ruined marriages and relationships. He could not stop cheating.

She was totally and completely in love. She'd met a man who shared her convictions. They enjoyed many of the same things. And, he was open to try new things that she loved, like visiting museums and listening to jazz.

She sat in the big plush chair next to the phone, the light blinking steadily. Slowly she reached over, picked up the receiver and looked. The caller ID had confirmed what she already knew. She dialed, and waited patiently. A friendly voice answered and she responded, "Hello, I'd like to have this number disconnected." "No, I won't be needing another connection at this time. Can you get it done right away?" "Thank you so much."

Taking the receiver, she placed it in the cradle. She knew without a doubt that she had prolonged this moment with her kindness. If she'd been blunt or angry, it would have ended sooner. Standing, she walked over to the wall and unplugged the line. She wrapped it around the old, familiar phone, then walked to the hall closet and placed it in a donation box.

It's done. No more guilt over a love that had been destroyed, and had died, so many years ago. No more blinking red light. No more invitations to turn down.

She'd received a beautiful vase of flowers from her new love last night. Carefully, she moved them to the spot where the telephone had sat. They looked lovely there, and there was just enough room for a photo. A photo of her new love, holding her.


copyright 09/19/08

18 comments:

mgirl said...

Bitter sweet isn't it? It's hard when someone keeps calling and stirring up those old emotions. You did the right thing, and replacing the old phone with the beautiful flowers and photo was so symbolic. Wonderful story.

Granny Smith said...

This is a lovely story with skillful telling of just enough. Too much iteration would have ruined it. I enjoyed it very much.

Nita Jo said...

MGirl, Thanks! It's actually a piece of fiction, based on the experiences of more than one woman. Sad statement on how common the cheating partner is...

Granny Smith, Thank you for the helpful words. I wrote it and did what you do when you redecorate a room... look around and remove the excess. I was hoping it was just enough. I appreciate getting feedback.

fearfullymade said...

Interesting how we hold onto things just a little bit longer than we really need to!
Great story!

anthonynorth said...

Cleverly done bittersweet tale - which is how it really is.
Enjoyed this.

Pam said...

What a nice piece of writing in how to finally refuse the invitation. Sometimes it's hard to admit its always been over.

B. Roan said...

Very realistic piece. Very well written. BJ

totomai said...

and my favorite drink, coke, is mentioned here. lol. the last stanza is really good.

Rambler said...

may be sometimes we got to make us that extra rigid and take that extreme step

texasblu said...

Well I'm applauding her - the flowers I'm sure were lovely. It's well told - I enjoyed it too.

Beth said...

A lovely story about a gentle woman who makes me wonder why she waited so long. Yet the ending places her definitely in the "now" with a beautiful future. Unless you wanted to take this story further into a totally different direction, where the man who once loved her becomes a stalker, etc., etc. But the story works quite well as is, an enjoyable read.

tumblewords said...

Oh, I know those feelings... Well written!

Robin said...

She sounds like a woman I would like very much.

Daisys Little Cottage said...

You need to be a writer girl. This was great!
smiles
DarLy*~

Miss Sandy said...

Thank you for your recent visit to my blog. Lovely story!

Blessings,
Miss Sandy

susan said...

Enjoyed the story.

TD said...

Enjoyed every last word. I liked especially the last paragraph of replacing the phone with the flowers. Thank you for posting.

missalister said...

I liked this. It held my attention to the end, and endings can give me fits. They’re too ambiguous or they give too much. I felt myself sink into this ending, very pleased with it, with the outcome. And I identify. I had a situation similar to this one myself :-)