A Conversation in a Dark Place


A telephone is lying on the floor in a dark room, half covered by shadows that seem to radiate from the walls themselves. It rings. It rings again. No one picks up. Finally, a teenage girl stomps madly into the room and picks up the telephone. A pause as she listens to the voice on the other end. “Yes, I know I’m ignoring you!” She exclaims angrily. A pause. The girl hesitates, then answers, “Yes, I know I’m procrastinating.” The voice on the other end whispers something barely audible. The girl looks confused. “No of course I haven’t forgotten you.” She answers almost scornfully. After another pause, the girl blurts out a rushed explanation: “Yes, I know. I was going to do that, but I just don’t have time… anymore.” As the girl listens to the telephone, she slides down the wall into a sitting position. Her hair hangs from her head like a segmented waterfall. “Well I don’t know, I… Well, I honestly don’t want to do it.” A pause. “Well yeah, I used to, but Dad, I’m in high school now. My schedule is busy! You can’t just expect me to…” The man on the phone cuts the girl off before she’s able to finish. After a moment, the girl is able to get a word in.”Okay, but can I just say something? I have a lot of homework, so I’m really busy, plus I just don’t like going there. I hate that place!” A pause. The girl purses her lips. Words begin to pour out of her mouth before she’s able to think. “I don’t really know why…”

It’s as if her brain has deserted her at that moment.

“I just…” exasperated, her voice cracks. “I don’t like going there, okay? They just make me feel terrible! Not like they’re being mean or anything, but I…” The girl pauses as she brings her hand to her forehead and closes her eyes. Close to tears, she continues. “I just-I can’t explain it. I hate going there. I’d rather do anything else.” She shakes her head, her eyes still squeezed tightly shut. “But, I don’t know, it’s probably just me.” As if she’s made up her mind, the girl’s tears stop halfway down her cheek, suspended by the fragile, shiny trails on her face. “It’s just me. I’m just being selfish and acting like an annoying little kid. It’s just me. I’m sorry. I’ll do it.” The girl wipes away her tears with her sleeve. She has stopped listening to the other end.

It’s as if her ears have deserted her at that moment.

Staring meaninglessly into space, she hangs up and carefully places the telephone back onto the floor. When she is about to open the door to leave, the telephone starts ringing again. Her fingers freeze, poised delicately over the intricate door handle. She glances over her shoulder at the telephone lying on the ground.

The telephone rings again.

She hesitates.

Then, without another thought, she quickly exits the room and closes the door behind her.

The telephone rings. It rings again.

No one picks up.




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