“An old woman receives strange phone calls from her dead husband.”
– a prompt for this week’s CW piece.
“Tommy, does your grandfather ever call you?“
My grandson looked at me as if I was crazy.
“What did you ask?“
“I asked if your grandfather ever called you. He calls me all the time.“
“No, he does not” – he replied, clearly weighing his words.
“Grandma, Grandpa is dead…” – he added.
“Well, of course, he is dead” – I replied with a snark, rolled my eyes and exhaled loudly.
“Maybe you should talk to Mom” – he said before swiftly getting up from his chair and exiting the room.
April came rushing in with a plate and a dishtowel in hand.
“Are you alright, Mother?” – she asked in a voice one would use to ask a kid.
All I could do was sigh.
“Tommy said that you were getting calls from Dad” – April announced, sitting down in an armchair next to me, previously occupied by my grandson.
“Yes, I am. Are you getting them, too?” – I asked with a hint of hope in my voice.
“Mom, it has been two years since Dad died…” – she began.
“I know when he died” – I retorted.
“I know he’s dead” – I added, trying to assure my daughter that I was not yet demented.
“Could you ask Tommy to drive me home, I’m tired” – I asked April, putting on my coat.
“Why don’t you come on in, Tommy. I have some of your favorite cookies inside. Plus, I could use some company. The house is so empty without your grandfather” – I asked once we pulled into my driveway.
“Sure. I was going to do it anyway” – he replied with a hint of pity in his eyes.
April must have asked him to keep an eye on me just in case I was to say or do anything crazy. Once inside, we made some tea, and I served the cookies. We sat in front of the TV, mostly in silence.
“You know, I’m not crazy, Tommy. Grandpa really calls me, but I am too afraid to answer. Maybe I’m worried it’s a dream and once I answer the phone, I will find out for sure that it is just all in my head. Well, I guess that would make me crazy. Even if only a little. It might be the side effect of grieving…” – I trailed off, without paying attention to my grandson.
As I realized I might have been scaring him, a loud ringing noise broke the silence. Tommy stiffened in his seat.
“It must be Mom. I forgot to text her that we got in safe” – he said with a sense of relief.
I looked at the cuckoo clock on the wall. 4.30pm. The exact time the phone would ring every day for the past week. The exact time George and I used to have tea.
Tommy and I got to the phone almost at the same time.
“Do you recognize this phone number?” – I asked my grandson.
He pulled out his phone, and furiously started typing.
“Stop telling on me!“
As I was about to slap that phone out of Tommy’s hands, I noticed the blood drain from his face.
“You were right. It’s Grandpa” – he said apologetically.
He was not texting his mother. He was checking the phone number that appeared on my ID Caller against his phone’s contact list.
“But how can that be?” – he asked.
“I don’t know! That’s what I’m trying to figure out” – I replied with frustration.
If only someone listened to me without disparaging me…
We kept staring at the now-silent phone for a while longer.
“I’m going to call him” – Tommy said as he clicked on his phone.
“Is crazy contagious? Because you are starting to sound a little insane.“
“Shhh. It’s ringing” – my grandson said before walking away from the house phone and towards the coach.
“Hello?” – Tommy said into his phone.
Sitting down next to him, I pressed my head against his phone as if I hoped to hear my Geroge.
Tommy stood up and walked away, pacing up and down the hall.
“Grandma, he wants to talk to you” – he said, handing over his phone.
“What?” – I asked, utterly confused.
“Just take it.“
He shoved the phone into my hand and sat down on the couch, and I stood up to pace up and down the hall because that is what people do when in distress.
“H-he-hell-o?!” – I said into the phone.
“Hi. My name is Fred” – the voice on the other end of the line announced.
“Hello? Are you there?” – the male’s voice asked after I said nothing.
“Yes. What have I done to you to play such cruel prank on me?” – I finally asked.
“Your grandson explained to me that this used to be your husband’s phone number. It’s quite freaky” – he started.
Nothing was making sense, but I needed some answers, so I stayed on the line.
“I changed my number a month or so ago. I had no way of knowing whose number I was getting. They usually give it a little while before re-distributing an unused number” – Fred continued.
“Why do you keep calling me?” – I finally found my voice.
“Two weeks ago, I had a dream. An older man with a small mole under his right eye came to me at night and told me to call this number. I completely disregarded it the first time that happened. But I dreamed the same thing the next night. It took me a couple of following nights to get all the digits in the right order. He told me to tell you that he was doing fine and that you had to move on because you still have a long life to live.”
I could not help but come back to the couch and sit down.
“But you never picked up. I wanted to give up, but I dream nothing else but the same thing every night. It’s like I have to reach you to get rid of your husband’s ghost.“
“Tell George that you told me, so he should leave you alone. Also, tell him that if he wants me to listen to him, he needs to come straight to me. It’s not like I can hurt him now” – I said before hanging up.
I looked at my grandson.
“Do you still think I’m crazy?“
P.S. As always, you are more than welcome to use this prompt to inspire your post. If you decide to write something, be sure to pingback to this post so that I can get an alert and check out your piece. (A post on how to do pingbacks can be found here.) If pingbacks are not your thing, feel free to simply leave a link to your piece in the comment section below. The more, the merrier!
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