Tuesday, August 14, 2012 | By: Brianna

Waiting by the Phone

"I'll call you on Monday," he said, shoving his hands in his pockets along with the little slip of paper that held her phone number.  With that, he walked away in his stolen bowling shoes.

That was 48 hours ago.

On Monday, Jenny woke up at dawn because of the nerves.  The sun slanted through her bedroom window, hitting her strategically in the eye as if it had planned its intrusion into her sleep.  Of course, the sun didn't really much care whether Jenny was awake or sleeping in someone else's bed, it was going to shine wherever it damn well pleased.  Anyway, when Jenny woke up, her tummy was doing somersaults up and down her middle so she held it steady as she brushed her teeth and took a shower.

Jenny wasn't much of a breakfast eater, but when her mother slid a plate of bacon and eggs onto the table in front of her, she couldn't very well say no.

"So what are you going to do today, Jenny?" her mother asked, cocking a hip as she fried up some eggs for Jenny's father who liked his eggs runny, a preference that his wife never fully understood.

"Oh, this and that.  I think I'm just going to hang out here for a while, I need some time to recharge," Jenny said, waving her fork around vaguely as if indicating some abstract plans she may have in the near future.  And that was the end of her mother's questioning.  One simple question, and Jenny was left to shovel scrambled eggs and bacon into her minty toothbrushed mouth.  Oh well.

Once Jenny's mother was safely off to work and Jenny's father was locked up in his office where he was working on his novel, Jenny dragged a dining room chair to the wall next to the phone.  The family phone was practically a museum piece, one of those plastic wall hanging ones.  Luckily they had upgraded from the rotary number dial, but it still hung on the wall, the listening and talking piece chained to the wall piece by a stretchy curly cord.

This was the phone number that Jenny had given the boy.  Something had lapsed in her brain, and she had forgotten that she owned a cell phone, so texting and calling on that was out.  Oops.  If she had told her mother this predicament, her mother would have been astounded that Jenny could be so stupid considering her phone was practically surgically attached to her hand at all times while she texted the day away.  Basically her mother would have marveled at Jenny's idiocy, and it would have been completely warranted.

Jenny could feel the chairs's cushion warming underneath her butt.  She crossed her arms and stared at the phone, pausing to check the time on the microwave clock.  8:00 AM.  Well, it was summer, so he was probably only getting up just now.  That gave him to climb out of bed...brush his teeth...maybe run damp hands through his bed head, and call...NOW!

The phone remained still, hanging from the cradle on the wall.

8:02 AM.

Maybe he showered instead of damp hand combing.  So he'd have to take off his pajamas and run the water so it got warm, then climb into the shower...wash his hair and all the clever little places that contained odors...then he had to get out of the shower...dry off...go back to his room and get dressed.  Then maybe he combed his hair.

8:22 AM.  The phone didn't ring.

Maybe he ate breakfast first.  And when he ate breakfast, he made himself a really elaborate breakfast with freshly squeezed orange juice, French toast, eggs, bacon AND sausage.  He was a teenage boy, it was morning, and he was hungry.  So he needed to make this breakfast himself after feeding the dog.  Then he'd set up a table setting with a fresh flower that he had to go out into the backyard to retrieve.  And because he was a good son and didn't want to put his mother out, he would clean his own dishes.  By hand.  And after all that he would have to dry all his dishes and put them away too.

9:14 AM.  Nothing.

Jenny rocked back on the dining room chair's back legs, thinking.  What else would he have to do outside of call her?  Wasn't he wondering what she was thinking just as much as she was wondering what he was thinking?  I mean, was he upset that his school's football team had lost and her's had won?  Wasn't he thinking that he wanted another custom made hot dog from her school's free hot dog stand?  Jenny had been absolutely certain that they had connected.  They shared the same disdain for ketchup on hot dogs and had given his best friend a hard time about including ketchup in the "everything" on his dog.  They had all laughed and he had looked at her and smiled.  She could remember just about everything that he had said that night, and she sat next to the phone while she analyzed every pause, glance, and word.

9:52 AM.  Nada.

Jenny let out a sigh.  Maybe he was cleaning his room?  He was a boy.  Unlikely.  Maybe she needed to clean her room?  No.  She couldn't allow the chance of him having to leave a message on the family answering machine.  She would never hear the end of it if that happened.  Jenny bit her lip thoughtfully, staring even more intently at the piece of plastic that was quickly becoming more of an enemy than she ever could have previously imagined.  If he didn't call in the next ten minutes, she would go to the mall with Stacy. Ten minutes.  He had ten minutes to call.

10:02 AM.  Nope.

Jenny took a breath, steeling herself.  She pulled herself up off the dining room chair, peeling her pajama pants off the chair's cushion and shuffling back to her room to get dressed and brush her teeth again.  She fluffed her hair, grabbed her purse and her cell phone.  As she headed out the front door, Jenny dialed Stacy.

10:41 AM.  The phone rang.

"I'm tired of waiting by the phone, and second-guessing what a guy says and trusting someone not to hurt me.  Again.  I've been storming the relationship castle for fifteen years, and I still don't have my prince.  I've got a bunch of battle scars from the field and I want to go home and nurse my wounds.  I don't want to fight anymore."
- Kim Gruenenfelder


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