short story

November 17, 2006

The door opened, and she stepped through it, wearing jeans and t-shirt, her heavy coat wrapped tight around her. She dropped the bag that held the slinky black dress on the ground where she stood. Shutting the door, she let the darkness of the room take over the noon-time light that had burst through the entrance, and her eyes had to adjust to the dimness of the room.

It’s about four paces from the door to the living room, and another twenty in the same direction to the kitchen. There, amidst white tile and oak moldings, she sat on a stool next to the phone table, brushed her mattress-pressed hair and hit the blue button that delivered her messages.

“First message left today at 10:21 am. ‘ Hi Denise, it’s Molly from next door. Hey, I just wanted to call to say that I’m sorry for your loss. I know this is a hard time. Hopefully, I’ll see you soon, but take your time. If you need to talk, you know how to find me. Bye…’ ”

Her face folded up in apprehension. Questions filled the space between her clenching eyes and her parting lips.

“Seconed message left today at 10:29 am. ‘Hi, there, it’s Jim. Wanted to let you know that things are okay. If you need to take the next couple weeks off, I’ll understand. Try to give me a call back and we’ll discuss some things, if you have time. Talk to you later.’ ”

Her heart raced, her lungs pounded, and she smoothed her face and its faded smears of make-up.
A more familiar voice.

“Third Message left yesterday at 11:17 pm. ‘Neesie, its me. There’s been an accident. I need you to meet me at St. Joan’s Hospital on 43rd. You didn’t come home last night, and I tried to call you at work, but everyone said you hadn’t been in today. Your cell is off, so I don’t know where you are. When you get this, call my cell immediately.’ ”

More questions. More apprehension. She turned her gaze to the pictures on the table, to the one of her son, her husband and herself, and decided to pour a drink.



  1. Wow,

  2. Ooooh

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