Short story

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-12-2005
Short story
5
Fri, 04-21-2006 - 9:36pm

David and Leanne:

The phone rang. It was loud and insistent, as was their argument.
The bills had been piling up on the mahogany desk in the study.
He knew they were there �� as did Leanne – but he needed to forget their presence.

Life had become too complicated. What had happened to a wife, two kids, and the American dream home?
David knew he was a hard worker. Surviving in the financial world was never easy – you were as good as your last trade, as everyone knew.
One day you are a hero, the next your gone.
Clients love you or hate you, depending on the swing of the trade. That’s how it was – and right now – they hated him.
The crash had come.

David had felt its approach and had tried so hard to warn his clients.
But who would listen.
The market had been booming for six years.
Young brokers were becoming millionaires: buying luxurious homes, having children, joining golf clubs, working out with personal trainers, making trades and lots of money….and then losing it.

Trades go up. Trades go down.
But, today, the trade went south and refused to return.

Friends, family and clients – their money was lost. Hopes, dreams, retirement plans – all left the table.
The world had turned around, and stockbrokers were certainly not supporting the axle.

“Why won’t you answer the phone?”
“Just pick it up and say goodbye, and then we can go on talking!”

David slowly moved towards the phone, but it was too late.
The ringing ceased.
Thank God.
Just one more client looking for his money.

He exhaled. Another confrontation avoided.

No need to explain to Leanne. The ringing had stopped.
David poured a glass of merlot... blew out the vanilla candles. Turned off the gas fireplace, and said goodnight.

Please leave a message after the beep………………….

HOSPITAL

Karen knew that the pickings were slim. Hospital terminology was so hard to comprehend – but she was quickly learning.
She had to.
Blood clots were quiet unfamiliar to her.

She knew Brian had been unwell.
Since his surgery, he had not been quite the same.
She had been assured that the operation would go well.
One day – in and out – it seemed to be so easy.
So simple.

No one had explained the risks involved.
Life was hanging on by an over processed hair.
Ready to break and crumble at any moment.
And that moment did come.

The cell phone kept vibrating in the pocket of her overworked knapsack.
She had adhered to the hospital signs and turned it off – intermittingly. But she was alone, and so wanted to be in touch.
Her husband may die.
She needed to talk.

For this brief moment, the cell phone was on, but silence was the loud reply.
She was not ready to talk or try to make sense of it all.
Her husband was dying. She had to work out where to go from here.
Brian was her life –her friend, her soul mate.
He was leaving her behind, and reluctantly, she had to go on.
Please don‘t leave me.
Goodbye.
The phone kept vibrating in her knapsack.
Another call another day.

Please leave a message after the beep…………….

Happy Birthday

The 80th birthday had gone well.
One more year to chalk up on the proverbial wall.
But who is counting?
The phone was somewhere, but among the chocolate covered cake plates and half-empty glasses of champagne – it was hard to find.
Father, husband, grandfather – he was all of that.
Love was all around him – but not enough.
He needed a different kind of love – for his self and who he was.
Despite the pleasures of family and friends – there was something missing.
80 years… can’t be too much longer now.
What had happened to that quaint fisherman’s cottage by the sea and the deep blue sport’s car he had always dreamed of?

Too many children.
Too many responsibilities.
Not that he regretted it for one moment.

Despite the death of his wife at an early age, leaving him with five young teenagers to care for - life had been ultimately good to Vince.
But a senior citizens apartment was not where he had eventually dreamt of ending his life.
As fast as the houses got bigger to accommodate his growing family, at 55 years, they started a downward trend.
With this at the end.
Too much furniture, too little space.

Vince sat back on the rich, brown leather, winged back chair.
Eighty year old fingers wrapped around the crystal glass, warming the iced Remy as he slowly brought it to his lips.
The gas flames illuminated the room – revealing sudden glances of family pictures scattered around the walls.
The brandy felt good as it slid its’ way down the back of his throat.
Tiredness overcame him –slipping to the side – the winged back chair offering support to his heavy head.

Please leave a message after the beep……………….

Drinking Italian wine in a French restaurant in Miami

On the whole, life had been good to Debbie.
Great kids, loving husband, beautiful home, but she knew that time was running out.
Too many moves and too many jobs.
Supporting the charade she lived – the kids, the house, the lifestyle, and her self-esteem.
She knew the Miami trip shouldn’t really have been on the cards – but she had been expected to be there.
It was an annual tradition - shop, shop, shop. Spend, spend, and spend.
Her husband’s job had proven not to be quite as safe and secure as her girl friends.

Why do some succeed and others struggle?
They had done nothing wrong – except perhaps making the wrong move at the wrong time.
Didn’t seem quite fare.
She and Paul had played the game and had done it all.
Luncheons, dinners, cocktails, golf.
But somehow, always seemed to miss a beat.
Her friends had just kept on going, and she knew she was falling behind.

An expensive hustle was revolving around her.
La Crepe de France offered the finest French food, being served among swaying palm trees and trendy, soft jazz music.
Red or white, Madam?
The phone was vibrating in the inner pocket of her Italian red leather Jacket.
The waiter gave her an offhand glare, somehow managing to take control of the situation.
Waiters can do that to you – make you feel inferior, although you are the one paying highly for their services.
Just like beauty assistants at make up counters.
Sorry – red is fine, thank you.
The phone kept vibrating against her chest.
Italian?
Thank you.
Perhaps the call had been from Paul.
Good news at last.
One more brave smile for her friends.
In such an idyllic setting – who could imagine things going wrong?
Tomorrow will be better.

Please leave a message after the beep…..

The kids were yelling at one another.
Chips and chocolate milk sprawled across the floor.
Saturday morning had its advantages … and disadvantages.
No time line - no guidelines.
Cartoon characters danced their way across the TV. Screen
Just let the show last for fifteen more minutes
Coffee and toast.
The start of another day.
Jake lifted the morning paper off the tray.
“Mortgages are rising” – the early morning announcement.
Carla pulled the sheet over her head,
despite the strong aroma of her favorite coffee bean floating above her head,
The conservation was not conducive to her early morning mood.
Mortgages, bills, education fees – she knew they were there – but did they really need attention.
Liam needed a new pair of soccer shoes before next weekend’s tournament. Kayla needed yet another payment for modeling classes, and Ryan had to have those super fast hockey skates to get him ready for the next season.

There was of course, that gorgeous dress hanging on the rack at Carla’s favorite store.
She knew it was perfect for the theatre that night. Everyone was going to be there.
Who cared that Pat and John had their fabulous new home over looking the lake.
They had their home and kids – but only just.
Time was running out.
Mortgages were exploding – but not their salary.
A new dress would be nice right now.
Ice skates were dancing on screen with cartoon characters
Kayla modeled soccer shoes on the runway.
“More coffee?”
The sheet retracted from Carla’s head.
“Yes” “: One more would be great!”
Jake’s elbow glided across her breast as he poured the coffee into her favorite cup.
Carla opened her eyes to the gesture.

She felt so wanted and needed.
The coffee was placed gently to the side of the bed, next to the picture of her family and the bottle of distilled water, which took up permanent residence on her bedside table.
Jake’s arm finally found a place of rest on her chest – feeling its way down towards her naval.
The phone rang…..

It was gone. No longer resting on the bedside table.
Kids do that to you. Ten phones in the house…but your phone is always missing!
“Don’t worry!” They will leave a message if it is important.

Carla closed her eyes, held Jake’s hand and moved it slowly toward her breasts…..

……You have reached the home of Carla and Jake please………

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