“C’mon already . . . ring!”His name was Johnny. I never thought a phone call could be this important to me. Especially from a boy. Especially from a boy named Johnny. This was no ordinary phone call, though. Here I was, all made up with no place to go. Not until Johnny called.I stared at the mint green phone that sat on the carpet at my feet and tried to use my willpower to make it ring. Willpower had never been my strong suit, though. If I had that much willpower, I wouldn’t be sitting here on the floor, waiting for Johnny to call. But I was so ready for him to call. My fingernails and toenails were painted candy apple red. The rollers were out of my hair. My face was on. My hands and feet were smooth and soft. All that was left was to change from my house clothes into something nicer. And that was waiting on Johnny.After all, if he wanted to go for a milkshake that would be one outfit. If he wanted to go to a dinner club, that would be another. If he wanted to stay here for a while and talk in the parlor before heading out, that was yet another outfit. And if he wanted to sneak me into a jazz club, why, that would be a fourth outfit altogether.“Stupid telephone!”I wanted to kick it, but that would mess up my toes, and I wanted everything to be perfect for Johnny. He was trying to call, I knew it. It was the phone. It wasn’t Johnny. It had to be the telephone.The longer I waited, the more my excitement turned into butterflies, the more my anticipation turned into chewing the inside of my cheek, the more my hopeful confidence turned into anxious uneasiness. Mother offered me warm milk and nutmeg. “I don’t need milk, I need the phone to ring!”On the outside, I kept snapping at the phone. “Why don’t you just ring? That’s what telephones do!”On the inside, I began to voice other concerns. C’mon, why aren’t you calling?There was no way Johnny was intentionally blowing this. It was his plan. He had begged for it. He had asked for a second chance. We’re older now, he had said. We’re both more mature, he had said. I don’t want anything more than I want to have another chance to show you how special you are to me, Angel, he had said. It hadn’t been easy to persuade me. I had been down that road before. I had trusted Johnny. I had been excited for Johnny. And I had been let down by Johnny. I had been devastated by Johnny. But the more he talked, the more I listened. The more he wrote in letters to me, the more I believed. But today. This was the phone call that mattered.This was the day he would be able to come see me. To be with me. To make good on all his promises. “Ring, phone, ring!” I picked up the handset. There was still a dial tone. I slammed the handset back down angrily. I would have rather no dial tone. Then I could blame the phone. I wouldn’t have to blame Johnny. You’re the first thing I want to see when I get out, Johnny had said. Not a real meal. Not money. Not a sunset. Just you, he had said. And I had believed him.I had finally given up my doubt and believed him. I believed that he was different. He was better. He had changed. Jail had made him a different kind of person.But the phone wasn’t ringing!And Johnny was still just a boy. Just another boy. No reason for me to get my hopes up. Just a boy.“Eleanor,” mother said softly, crouching near me so she could look in my eyes as we talked. “Eleanor, honey, there’s no easy way to say this.”“Just say it.” My upper lip trembled. I didn’t want to hear what she was going to say. I had to, though. I had to.“Eleanor,” mother said again, her voice quivering, “there was a man at the backdoor. He was a policeman. Johnny . . . Your father tried to escape today. He was shot. He died, Eleanor.”I grabbed the telephone with both hands and flung it against the wall with every strength drawn from the pit of my soul. “Ring, damn you, ring!”
Love all the inner turmoil and denial in this one, Nevets!
Me too! Nice job - good writing!