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
The phone rang. The shrill sound cracked the early morning silence, startling Julie so that she spilled some of the coffee she was pouring into her mug. Probably a wrong number, she thought, grabbing a sponge and mopping up the puddle on the counter. The darkness outside had lightened, the faint silver glow of dawn coloring the living room where the phone blared, falling silent as she approached.
Relieved, she dropped on to the couch to sip her coffee and watch the sun rise from behind the neat row of houses across the street. She savored this quiet time before the day’s madness began, waking and getting Savi ready, dropping her off at daycare and driving to her work as an office manager in a small company.
As she swallowed the last of the coffee, the phone rang again. Sighing, she put down her mug, reached over and picked up the receiver.
“Hello?” she said, preparing to tell the caller it was a wrong number.
“Julie?” said a voice edged with a warm accent, “It’s me – from Sri Lanka.”
Sri Lanka. The voice and the words dropped into her thoughts, sparking a trail of memories – of sapphire oceans and emerald hills, of bright, hot days and steaming nights, of a man, with bronze skin and chocolate eyes who read translations of native poetry in a voice that was distilled music.
“Julie?” said the voice, again, its gentle tones unraveling a knot deep inside her.
“Three years.” She said, the tears sliding down her cheeks, “It took you three years to call.”
There was a pause, a sigh, from halfway across the world brushing her cheek as her mind reached back to that winter spent with her friends in the tropical island – the hotel by the beach, meeting him one day as they walked the white sands at sunset. She remembered, as she had everyday for the past three years, the sweetness of the week that followed, the silken embrace of the Indian Ocean as she swam beside him, the shadow of the leopard as she followed him down a forest trail, the coolness of the temple where they worshipped together with frangipani blossoms in their palms.
She remembered the conversations and laughter, falling in love with the beat of the ocean in her ears and the starlight in her eyes. The way her heart had cracked open the day before she left, as he told her he was engaged to be married to a girl his parents had chosen and she responded that she had a boyfriend in America. The way the tears knotted in her throat as they decided the week they had spent together was nothing but a memory to be cherished, agreeing that to try and stay in touch would be futile.
“How did you even find my number,” she asked, wondering.
He laughed. “With a lot of googling, conniving and phone calls. Finally reached your parents and your Dad gave me this number.”
“He did?” She gasped, “Who did you say you were?”
“Your long lost lover, who else.”
He was only half-teasing. Joy and suspicion collided in her mind as question after question raced through. What had finally made him contact her? Boredom? Nostalgia? A failing marriage?
“And your wife…” she began,
“Wife? I never married darling. Went home that week and called off the whole thing.”
She too had broken up with Max a few months after the trip to Sri Lanka, any thoughts of reviving that relationship fleeing in the wake of the amazing discovery that came at that time. Oh she had dated a few times after that – seeking, but never finding the magic she had discovered on the other side of the world.
|Arthur Trinidad Photography|
He went on to tell her that he was coming to Yale that Fall to begin a Master’s Degree. He’d been trying to find a way to get into the USA ever since she left, he hadn’t wanted to contact her until he knew for certain that he could come. He had thought about her every day for the past three years. Could he see her when he arrived? Could they, perhaps, pick up where they left off?
The sun had risen now, staining the sky red-gold, drawing a pattern of bright yellow lines on the carpet. A soft sound made her look up to see Savi toddling down the stairs, her dark curls tousled, yawning as she flung her sleep-warmed body on Julie’s. She hugged the child closer as she told him, yes, she would love that.
“I should have asked first,” he said, hesitantly. “Is there someone in your life right now?”
Savi. It meant strength in Sinhalese, she had learned. Savi: her strength, her joy, the beautiful reminder of the most joyous time of her life. Julie kissed her dusky cheek before answering.
“There is,” she said, “and it’s someone that you would love to meet.”
Ayesha is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sri Lanka. Her fiction, which she writes in the brief pauses in her life as a work-at-home mom, is drawn from the rich and diverse culture of her country.