Welcome to the Call Me MAYbe Flash Fiction Challenge!!
All stories begin with "The phone rang" and are no more than 1,000 words. Deadline to submit is May 31. For full contest rules and prize list, visit this link: http://mystiparker.blogspot.com/2013/04/next-month-call-me-maybe-flash-fiction.html
#6: My Name's Leonard Davenport
The phone rang. Jeremy was busy settling his mother comfortably in her favorite chair, he placed the remote within easy reach so that she could pass an afternoon watching her favorite shows on afternoon TV. Eleanor Wills was eighty-four and quite feeble. She had also put on fifty pounds in the nine years since Jeremy's father passed.
Jeremy answered the call on the fourth ring. “Hello?” The phone, a land-line, sat on a small stand in the kitchen area. It seldom rang.
“Could I speak to Eleanor, please?” The voice was strong, but the reception seemed weak as if from a very long way away.
“I'm afraid that she's unable to get up and come to the phone. I'm her son, can I take a message?”
“I understand. My name's Leonard Davenport, a very old friend. I'll call back tomorrow at this time. Would it be possible that she sit near the phone at that time? I would really love to talk to her again. It has been so long! A lifetime.” The voice was fading by the end of the exchange. Jeremy Wills was left with a dead receiver, which he placed down.
Shaking his head in confusion, as he knew of no Leonard Davenport, he turned and returned to his mother.
"It would seem an old friend, a Leonard Davenport would like to talk to you tomorrow. I can sit you...are you alright, mother?"
Eleanor visibly paled and her hands shook as she said, "That can't be!”
“That's what he said. He will call back tomorrow at this time.”
Eleanor Wills started shaking as if with palsy. “No! It can't be. This must be some joke.” Tears fell from her eyes.
It took the rest of that afternoon for Jeremy to calm his mother down. He sat with her but it was much later, over tea, that she told him that she knew a Leonard Davenport as a girl. Before Jeremy's father, Leonard was her first love. But he had died in a car accident in 1955.
The phone rang once more the next day. Jeremy, quite angry that someone would want to play games, answered it on the third ring. “Hello!”
“Could I speak to Eleanor please?” It was the same voice, strong, yet oddly weak.
“Listen, I don't know who you are, but this is some kind of sick joke. My mother told me about Leonard and there is no way...”
“Jeremy!” His mother called from the living room. “Jeremy, let me handle this. Help me in there, please.” Jeremy could sense the determination in her voice. She still possessed a strong will. "I must know."
Eleanor's voice cracked as she said, “Hello?”
Jeremy watched her for a minute to determine if she was alright, then went to the sink to do up the breakfast dishes and to stay close.
“This can't be! But your voice... Yes, of course I remember you! But the Leonard I knew is dead.”
Jeremy turned around, ready to take the phone, but Eleanor looked at him and shook her head, held up her hand with index finger extended, “Give me a minute, Please.”
Jeremy reluctantly walked back to the living room, giving his mother the illusion of privacy but determined to pay close attention.
Unbelievably the next thing he heard was laughter, and then, “I most definitely remember that, but how could you know? Leonard and I were alone when that happened and I certainly didn't tell anyone.”
Then more laughter.
Jeremy stormed into the kitchen ready to take the phone, but seeing his mother, he stopped. She had tears streaming down her face as she was shaking her head and giggling like a young girl. He hadn't seen her this happy in years.
After the phone call, Eleanor was vibrant, yet, reluctant to speak. She appeared to be deep in thought, looking off into the distance with a playful grin on her face. She seemed more alive and vital.
That night as he helped her to bed, she kissed him then said, “Jeremy, I loved your father very much. We spent forty-six years together. You have always been my joy. But before your father... there was Leonard. Who knows if he had lived what would have been. I don't know how or why, but, that call was Leonard. I want you to know that. Now, could you get my photo album down for me? The old brown one...yes, that one.”
Jeremy was in a daze following her instructions handing the album to her, he noticed that her hand was steady. She also had a determined look on her face.
As Jeremy turned to leave her, she said, “Good-bye, son. I love you!”
Jeremy shut her door and went to his room, deep in thought.
The next morning, Jeremy opened his mother's door, she was laying peacefully amid pictures on her bed. They were of someone that he had never seen before. In her hand was another.
"Mother." he said.
When she didn't rouse, he knew that she had gone to Leonard.