I am by nature an inward man, he said silently into the disconnected phone. Most of Harold’s conversations were of the silent kind. None of the people around him would understand why he wanted to speak to his dead wife on the telephone. Harold much preferred to speak to her in person, but Heaven did not allow for that.
He certainly took notice of the strange looks given by the nurses when they saw him in his room, with the receiver of an old rotary phone to his ear. He was sure that they thought he was crazy; full of old age dementia. But the truth was; that phone connected him to the other side. It was the only way to hear her sweet, beautiful, albeit dead voice on the other side. She was after all, the only one who ever understood his hermit-like tendencies.
“It’s time for your medicine Harold” said the night shift nurse, waltzing into his room, adorning a tray on her arm. Harold held up a finger of pause, he wasn’t ready. But the nurse reached for his frail, wrinkled hand and placed two white pills in his palm. “Now take them, or I will call the Doctor” she said firmly.
As Harold slowly placed the pills in his mouth, a tear rolled down his cheek. The pills always made her sweet voice fade from the phone. He swallowed, and he cried inside as he listened to the line go quiet, and felt the loneliness creep in again. He inwardly longed for the other side.
** Harold was the second place winner in the River Cities Reader Short Fiction Contest - I'm With the Banned!
**Side Note - the line: "I am by nature an inward man, he said silently into the disconnected phone" is attributed to The Satanic Verses, by Salman Rushdie and not my own original work.
Molly Roland is a writer by nature, and she enjoys stepping over the invisible lines society loves to draw.