9.30.2013 Journal Prompt

Photo by Garry Winogrand
Photo by Garry Winogrand

September 30, 2013: What else could she say?

One Reply to “9.30.2013 Journal Prompt”

  1. I knew it was her before she spoke. Maybe it was the breathing down the phone that I recognized. The small catch in the back of her throat, something almost musical. Maybe it was that or just that I was expecting she would call; not that she’d said she would, but somehow I was expecting it. I think I knew it was her even before I picked up the phone, even as it was ringing. I wished it wasn’t, but I knew that it was.

    ‘Hi, it’s Cin,’ she said. ‘Remember me, Cin? From PJ’s? Oh it was weeks back. You said I could call and you gave me your number.’

    That’s right, I had given her my number. And I did remember her. I’d bought her a drink, and I’d thought she was prettier than any girl I ever knew. I wasn’t the only one in PJ’s bar who thought so. But I was the one who bought her a drink and after that we were like a couple and she was hanging on my arm and kissing me and breathing in my ear.

    ‘Hi, Cin. ‘Course I remember. How could I not?’

    I’ve been around the block a few times, if you get my meaning. But it was never like it was with Cin. We did it standing up in a shop doorway, all breathless and laughing in the street light dark. I was a little drunk and so was she. And I don’t know whose idea it was or if it just happened.

    ‘I’d have phoned sooner,’ said Cin. ‘But I wasn’t sure you’d take the call.’

    ‘I gave you my number didn’t I? Why would I do that if I didn’t want you to call?’

    I didn’t want her to call. I wanted to forget it ever happened. Looking back, I can see how stupid we were. If anyone had seen us going at it like street dogs, well that would have finished me. I can see the headlines in the newspapers and my name dragged through the dirt.

    ‘I’m in a public phone-box across the street from you and people passing on all sides and I’ve got no underwear on.’ She laughed and I shifted in my chair.

    ‘Across the street?’ I said.

    ‘And no underwear and I’m thinking about what we did before and I was just wondering… in a phone-box.’

    I was at my desk and my secretary was listening in, hearing only my end of the conversation, and she was looking at me funny and making signals with her hands that I just couldn’t read. I dropped my voice to a whisper.

    ‘Listen, Cin. It’s not that I’m not tempted. The other night, well it was something else and we were both a little drunk, you know. And sitting here picturing you without your underwear might just be the highlight of my day, or any day, but we can’t… I can’t.’

    I could hear her just breathing again and the small sound she makes at the back of her throat, something between a whistle and a moan. I could hear the rush of traffic and the shouts of passers-by and like we were back in PJ’s, she was a whisper in my ear.

    ‘On your desk,’ Cin said, ‘a plain brown envelope with your name on it. Sealed and hand delivered. Inside is my underwear and the pants still warm. I’m down stairs and across the street. What else can I say?’

    What else could she say? I broke for an early lunch and I told my secretary I’d be late back, and I was.

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