The phone rang. Nothing about it stood out; it was simply the typical electronic bleating of a modern-day cordless. There was nothing different about the way I sprang from my seat as I always do when the phone rings either. I can never say no to a ringing phone. Who can? The unanswered ringing phone is the greatest mystery of them all. Today however, would be different, I told myself.
It bleated and bleated. I looked at it; my eyes ran up and the length of the cheap, shiny plastic. I felt like getting it, I really did. My gaze fell upon the sound of the bleat, the way it cut through the silence and was in stark contrast to the thick smog smoking too many cigs with no windows open can muster.
It bleated and bleated. Although I was fixed on it I couldn’t make out the number on the orange, back-lit display. It bleated and bleated.
It was a game. I slowly stubbed out my cigarette, nonchalantly blew the smoke out of the side of my mouth, letting my opponent know I wouldn’t be bullied. I smiled a wry smile. It bleated and bleated.
The sunlight shone through a crack of the wooden blinds. I could see the smoke twirling through the sun’s rays that illuminated the cigarette-stained light-blue shag. I titled my head and squinted at the hole in the dam. The day was relentless. I checked my mobile. It was 09:54. It bleated and bleated.
My smile now broadened and I showed my teeth in some attempt to show whoever it was I wasn’t giving up so easily. I checked Twitter – no RTs, follows, PMs or DMs. I stared blankly at the scroll of 140 characters giving me snippets of, and ideas about, what’s going on in the world. I never click the links though – never read the articles. Headlines. As easily digestible and completely misleading as a TV dinner. You also throw up after eating too many of those.
I switched off my mobile screen and slipped it back into the pocket of my jeans. I looked at the outline the phone had made into the cloth of the trouser pocket so that it looked like I had a phone in there whether I actually had or not. The sun glared at me through the wooden inlets. The smoke twirled. My back ached. It bleated and bleated.
Ok, you win. I twisted my body so that my right arm could reach behind the sofa to the window and thus the wooden rod that opened and shut the blinds. Light heaved into the room reminding me of just how much I’d let go recently. Christ. This had to change. Something had to happen to make it change. I had to happen. I pushed my behind into the back of my seat, straightened my back and the rested my elbows on my knees, leaning slightly forward. I ran my fingers through my hair and scratched. It was greasy but wearable. The half-empty scotch bottle on the glass coffee table greeted me as I looked up toward the noise in the corner. I killed my cigarette in the standard-issue, glass, rounded, over-filled ashtray that always accompany such fucking cliches as a goddam half-empty fucking scotch bottle on a greasy, dirty glass coffee table. Christ. It bleated and bleated.
My legs hurt as I stood up. Blood smashed its ways down to my toes for the first time in hours. I gazed out the window. Cars slowly driving by, women, children, shops, young men with caps, tatoos and socks tucked into their trousers. Old people. A convenience store. Two well-built Turkish guys driving past in their top-down ‘bimmer’, loud chart-music playing and lingering looks at the women going past. Not that many seemed to mind. The sun glinted off their windshield and as they drove past my window I could see their reflection on the dirt-lined bus stop where there stood the kind of woman that would keep you up all night in a good way and up all day wondering who she was with, what time and when. My jaw relaxed ever-so-slightly as my eyes moved beyond her chestal area to her face. She was looking up at the window holding a mobile phone up to her ear, looking fantastically impatient. I turned and looked at the phone. I looked back, there she was, her tight thighs almost killing me as I stood. It bleated and bleated.
So admitting defeat but with damn good reason, I strode across the room, arm outstretched.