Will Gatti & Daniel Finn


The Call

The Call

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 13.58.34He was surprised to see the red telephone box, not that you never saw them anymore but he hadn’t seen one with a telephone in it, only those with teetering piles of old paperbacks which he suspected nobody borrowed and sometimes he’d noticed that a parish council had invested in a defibrillator, because that was, apparently handy if you were having a heart attack, though he wasn’t quite sure how, if you were having a heart attack you would be able to hurry along to the telephone box, remember the code to unlock the case and then go back home where you were having your heart attack and defibrillate yourself. He had never had a heart attack and he wasn’t really thinking about that when he saw the old telephone box on the corner of the country road he was walking along.

The red of the box was faded and tussocky grass had grown up around it but the glass, a bit grubby, hadn’t been broken and when he came close he saw that the phone was intact. He went in and lifted the receiver and heard that … How would you describe it? Not quite a hum and not quite a buzz  but something in between that told you that the line was alive and when he heard that he knew that the one person he wanted to call right at that moment was his mum.

Change? He had change. When he had called home from school it was shillings and coppers clattering into the tin box and pressing the right silver coloured button for the call to go through or the other button to get your coppers back. This box wasn’t that old, of course, the others were all gone. It was fifty pence or twenty or a pound. He had a couple of fifties. He was all set or so he thought but then he found himself staring at the digit buttons trying to remember her number. It was stupid! He could remember their phone number in London when he was a child: Flaxman 9634 but what was her number now? He looked out through the grey glass at bare hedgerows, the winter field, the copse up on the far side of the field. A crow beating away from the wood across a dull sky. What was it, her number?

There was a hollow place in his remembering where the number was and try as he might he couldn’t reach down to it.

She would have liked to have heard from him, heard his voice. How strange to have found this telephone box, in the middle of nowhere too. God knows why he had decided to walk that way, never having been that way before.

He felt a hollow in his heart. A dull feeling. Dull as the day. He stepped outside and slowly climbed the style that led to the field with the copse on the far side.

How could he have forgotten that his mum was no longer there in that house down near the coast and he hadn’t heard her voice, or she his for almost twenty-nine years.