The Red Phone

The man was lonely, as often introverts are when they reach their older years. He couldn’t physically do much anymore, and without many people his own age around, he never found much joy in facing the world.

In fact, he found most joy in being in the old garage.

It wasn’t the prettiest thing. The ground was nothing more than dirt, and there were boxes scattered everywhere. The workbench was cluttered and filthy…the only relatively pristine things within the area included an old, ragged blue armchair, a typewriter, and the still shiny, vibrant red phone.

It as a phone that had heard many conversations. From invitations to lunch, to pleasant chats, to dreary calls from relatives, to sorry information that someone dear had passed…Yes, the phone had heard a lot in its time in the garage.

And it was about to hear another.

The phone rang,

The man was sitting in the armchair, fast asleep as soft snores passed through his lips.

The phone rang,

He twitched a little, head lolling to his left shoulder.

The phone rang.

The man jolted awake, blinking wearily as he scanned the room for the source of the rude awakening.

The phone rang.

He lurched for it, pulling the device toward him and putting it to his ear.

“Hello?” he questioned groggily, clearing his throat after.

“Hello!” A bright, cheerful female voice responded. It was soft, a little breathy, and incredibly soothing to the elderly man.

“Hello?” he questioned again. Was she going to say why she was calling?

“Hello!”

Great, the man thought. Glad we’ve established so much here.

“Who is this?”

The woman’s tone didn’t change. “I don’t know.”

The man was bemused. “Excuse me?”

“I don’t know.”

“Alright…do you know where you are?”

“Nope!”

He breathed heavily through his nose. Alright then…

“And why exactly are you calling, Miss?”

“Oh!” she seemed to snap out of some daze. “I’m so sorry. I’m looking for my husband.”

The man tried to put some humour into his tone. “Well, I’m afraid I’m not him.”

“No…” she trailed off, sounding troubled for once. “No, I don’t know who he is.”

He resisted the urge to ask her if she knew anything at all.

“Miss?”

“Who is he? Who am I? Where’s my husband?!”

“Miss? Can you tell me where you are? Or at least what it looks like? Maybe I could help you place it.”

“I-I…” she stuttered, steeling herself before starting again. “I’m in a garage…it’s cold. A little dusty. The ground is dirt, and there are boxes…There’s a blue armchair and a typewriter. I’m talking on a red phone…”

The man looked around as the woman spoke, stunned. How was she…? She was describing the exact place that he was in!

“Miss?” the elderly man’s tone was becoming angry. “if this is a joke, I’m not laughing.”

“I don’t know who I am! Please sir, you have to help me!”

“Tell me where the hell you are then! Because you can’t be here!”

“I don’t know who I am…Where’s my husband? I need to find…”

“Hey-”

A dial tone sounded.

The man slowly pulled the phone away from his ear, staring at it in shock.

What had just happened?

He sunk back into the armchair, the blue one that the woman seemed to know about.

It couldn’t be helped. He couldn’t track her down; hell, she didn’t even know who she was! But…how did she know the things that she did?

In an attempt to clear his mind of the events, he eased towards the old typewriter and readied it, prepared to continue his previous project.

But he couldn’t clear his mind from that conversation.

And so, he grabbed fresh paper, readied the typewriter once more, and began to write a story. A story of a woman with amnesia, awakening in a dirty old garage, equipped only with the knowledge that she had to find her lover.

And next to him the red phone sat, the cord dangling free from the jack that would give it connection to the outside world.

 

Yes, the phone had been through many conversations. Even the ones between and old man and his slipping mind.

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