The old phone

Annie is sitting next to the phone all day. She is still wearing the same clothes that she wore when she returned home from her night shift. Her red hair are hanging loosely at one side of her face, her ponytail that sported hours ago is now half undone, but she does not bother to fix it. She hasn’t done anything all day, she only observed the grey wall on the opposite side of the room. She has noticed with her big, brown eyes that there is a small spider on the wall, making a web. But she does not bother to do anything about it; she is only waiting for the old phone to ring.

The phone is an old rusty one. It is made of wood, but its color has faded away, making it impossible to identify the tree it was made from. Generally, it produces a high pitched noise that can make someone jump, even if he sits at the other side of the small apartment. It could literary fill the apartment and add to the noises of her normal life. But today, that Annie is waiting so anxiously for its noise to be heard, it is silent. Silent is the whole apartment too, only the rhythmic tic-tock of the clock is heard. And that is because it is not a normal day.

It had started quite normally, though. Annie left her work at around six in the morning, as always. She worked the night shift in a factory that packed and disturbed milk. Her post was in the line of production of the carton bottles. It was a mechanical job, but that did not make it easier. The night shift had made it even more tiring but Annie needed the money if she wanted to attend collage the following year.

She had left the factory and had headed for the nearby 24-hour café. It was a small and definitely not the best of the area but she always liked because it felt cozy. Moreover, in the Morning Sunshine worked a girl that had turned out to be her best friend. She was named Rosie and was a few years older than her. She was shorter and more beautiful than Annie, according to Annie’s point of view. She could never decide if that was due to her dark complexion or due to the large smile that was always on her face. Rosie was very friendly and talkative; it was easy for her to approach the shy girl that always had been Annie.

This morning, Annie, entered the shop. She approached the counter and ordered her usual: scrambled eggs and hot chocolate. “You will never stop drink milk? You are like a baby!” teased her Rosie. “You know I don’t like coffee! And, anyway I am drinking chocolate, not milk!” replied Annie. “No honey, it’s milk. Milk…if you ever prepared it yourself you would know it!” said Rosie in a false tone of disapproval. She said that to Annie often, but she never really meant it, and never offence was given.

Annie smiled at her comments and looked out for the local newspaper that always was around somewhere. She greeted two more customers; they were workers in the factory, too. She could never remember the name of the older one, but she was quite sure that the other one was John. She blushed a bit when John smiled back at her, she had a crush on him since the first time she saw him in the café. She quickly hid behind the recently-found newspaper. “You should talk to him. Or at least smile back at him once!” said quickly Rosie, while serving her order. “Yes, I know it, Rosie. Maybe, one day.” Rosie rolled her eyes, but said nothing as she had to attend to the other customers. She casted a look over her shoulder that Annie knew it meant I am not yet done with you lady. She sighed and begun to sip slowly her chocolate.

At that moment something unexpected happened. The door opened and entered two new customers. It was highly unusual at that time of the day to see in the small café someone that does not work for the factory. She turned to look at them with great curiosity the same moment that Rosie asked them what they wanted. But those two were not normal customers. They were not at all customers. “EVERYBODY GET ON THE GROUND! Your cash is what I want!”

Chaos followed. She fell to the ground, covering her head with her arms, while one of the two grabbed Rosie from her hair, leading her towards the cashier. He looked very threatening in his dark clothes; he his head covered with a hood and scarf. She could not see anything but two cool eyes. She hated those eyes, but could nothing to stop them from looking so menacing. The other one was dressed in a similar way, but he was a bit shorter and had darker eyes. He made all the talk, too. “Get on the ground and don’t move! If anyone moves, I will use this.” He said demonstrating his gun. “Now, slowly, when I come to you, you will put ALL valuable possessions that you have in this bag,” he showed off the bag, “and, as always, no protests or heroisms.”

Meanwhile Rosie and the cool-eyed robber were on the cashier. She was filling another similar bag with the earnings of the previous day. She seemed relatively calm, but anyone who knew her could say that she was furious. Annie recognized it and dread was upon her. She was afraid for Rosie, she could do very stupid things when she was angry. She thought of making a sign at Rosie not to do anything, but then the other one kicked her. “Come on, honey, you have to give me what you have.” With no other option she put in the bag the little money she carried and her bracelet. The bracelet was a gift of her grandmother and she wished not to give to him, but his gun was pointing at her.

At that point the other one let loose of Rosie. He nodded to the other to leave. At that point Rosie rang a bell that there was in every café of this town as a distress signal. She had called for the police. The cool-eyed robber looked at her with menace; he raised his arm and shot twice at Rosie.

The rest were just a blur to Annie. She vaguely remembers the two of them running to the door, while she had run to hug Rosie. She was alive, but uncautious. She wept, until someone dragged her away from her. She now thinks that he was John. Everybody was moving around, but she could not comprehend what was going on. It seemed like the police had arrived on the scene. They were putting now Rosie in an ambulance. She moved closer to it, wanting to go with her, but they didn’t let her. It was because she was not a family member. Nonsense! Wanted to cry, but Rosie’s brother had arrived too, and promised to call her for news. And the next moment they were gone.

And so now, Annie is sitting next to her old phone. It is good that she doesn’t have to go to work tonight, she cannot leave her spot. She has to learn about Rosie. She rubs her wrist in the place that her bracelet was. She doesn’t really care about it, it only matters that Rosie is well. She wants her friend to be alive, and healthy and able to tease her for the chocolate. She looks the spider on the wall with tears in her eyes. She could do nothing to prevent it and nothing to fix it. She can only wait for the phone to ring. But it remained silent.


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