A Tire Swing Story is a bite-sized "imagining" inspired by an object I discover while wandering. It could be a curbside trash gem or a message sprayed on a wall. A lost mitten, or an antique store find. Anything goes. I photograph the object and post them together, the story and its inspiration. There will be a new story every Monday and Wednesday. On Fridays, I'll discuss writing, life, love, and coffee. (In no particular order and maybe all at once.)

Monday, November 22, 2010

“Hang up and try again,” says the operator. 
I put the phone down and count my remaining quarters. Two left. Enough for one more call.  I reach under my hat to scratch my head and my fingers come back greasy. There’s grit under my nails. I’ve got half a smoke in my back pocket, but no light. I could use these last two quarters to get myself a pack of matches. But once a fool, always a fool, and so I slide my money into the slot and punch the buttons.
“The number you dialed is no longer in service. Please hang up and try again.”
It’s cold today. I stomp my feet. There’s a frozen gob of spit on the concrete beside my boot. I’ve always hated the cold. Annie never did. She used to lay on the roof at night, even in the winter. She’d wrap herself up in blankets and look at the stars. She said you could see em’ better the colder it was. One time we were out there together, her in a mountain of blankets, just looking up. I was smoking and watching her. She asked if I knew any of the stars’ names.
“Course,” I said. I pointed at the brightest two.  “That one’s Greg, and there’s Annie.”
She liked that. Us stars up there together, shining for all time. 
I remember those matches in the bottom of my duffel bag, and start digging for them. My hands are barely working now, they’re so stiff with cold. The daylight’s fading, and I know I gotta get moving, get myself set up somewhere for the night. 
In the bottom of my bag, I find a black marker. On the window of the phone booth, I write what I would’ve said to her. It’s all I can do.

1 comment:

  1. I think this one is my favourite so far but I had a good laugh with the story about the goose. Oh dear and the wedding one sure had a lot of juicy subtext going on. I adore you, you brilliant woman.