cont Robert, Ma Bell and Me
Finally school was in session. My husband was at work and it was raining. It would have been a perfect day, but the phone kept ringing. The Post and the News wanted me to read their papers. Three different companies wanted to clean my carpets, and the Democrats wanted a donation. The last time it rang it was him.
“Can you talk?”
“I’ve missed you a lot. You’re very beautiful, aren’t you?”
“Don’t you know what I look like?” I asked.
“I can tell by your sexy voice that you’re a luscious woman.”
I had to be certain. “You really don’t know me?”
“I swear. I just want to make love to you over the phone. Your voice turns me on. I’m in love with you.”
I was entirely flattered and intrigued. “What’s your name? Tell me your first name.”
His voice broke from the husky whisper. “Why?” He had become suspicious.
I answered as honestly as I could. “So you’re more real to me when I think about your calls.
He became excited. “Robert, my real name is Robert.”
The front door slammed, breaking the spell. My kids were home from school.
“I have to go now, Robert.”
“No, please don’t hang up.”
I put the receiver in the cradle, gently.
My spirits were up for days, except every time the phone rang I jumped four feet in the air and raced the kids for it. Not a few times the little devils beat me to the taunting instrument, and some of those times they would slam the receiver down annoyed. Some crank on the phone had hung up as soon as they said hello. I knew who that crank was, and cursed myself for not being faster. I needed to start wearing sneakers around the house for better traction.
It was almost three weeks before Robert and I had another conversation. Admittedly, as the days sped by my thoughts turned to him less and less, although my husband had commented on how much more amorous I was as of late.
I stuck the mop in the bucket before answering. “Yes?”
“I miss you, love. Do you want to talk?”
Parting my moistened lips in a classic pose of seduction, I uttered breathlessly. “I guess so.”
“What are you wearing today?”
Looking down at myself, I thought about lying. I was a mess. Then I decided to tell the truth. He has to love me the way I am, my husband does. I was suddenly indignant.
“Jeans and a sweatshirt. Does it matter?”
“I bet you look great. Can we make love now?”
Oh no, I wasn’t ready for this. “How old are your, Robert?”
“I want to know. I can’t get into it unless I can imagine what you’re like.”
“If I answer, no more questions today.”
“OK, I promise.” Why was I making promises to a complete stranger?
Not to sound Victorian, but for the first time in my life I almost swooned.
“Twenty-eight, that’s terrific.” Visions of a flat stomached, broad-shouldered, young man danced like sugar plums in my head. I really had to go on a diet.
“Why is that terrific?” he asked.
“Because I wouldn’t want to make love to a boy.” I could really think on my feet while having flashes of excitement.
I heard some activity from his end. It sounded like young children. When he spoke again it was hurried.
“I have to go. Can I call you tonight?”
“Can I ask for you if someone else answers? I wouldn’t want to cause you any hassle.”
I thought about it. “No, just hang up.”
“I love you.” He reminded me before the disconnect buzz hummed in my ear.
Minutes dragged endlessly as my eyes strayed for the hundredth time to the kitchen clock. I moved through the rest of the day as a mindless robot, all thoughts conscious and unconscious focused on Robert. Hurrah, for mundane tasks that could be accomplished without exerting an ounce of mental effort. Dinner was cooked, served and consumed by my very own body while the real me, la femme fatale, was already engaged in a torrid and lascivious affair.
Eventually it was time to tuck the little one in and convince my teenager she needed beauty sleep. That completed, I pasted a smile on my face and flopped in the rocking chair to wait for my husband to leave for his night job.
With a slight feeling of guilt, I casually mentioned it was getting quite late when he still sat fixed before the TV set ten minutes after his usual take off time.
Surprise! He happily informed me that he had the night off. My heart dropped to my knees. Guilt transformed itself into an overpowering sense of betrayal. What was wrong with me? The man I adored for some twenty years was staying home, and I was disappointed. To ease my smarting conscience I pampered him all evening. Fixing snacks, making coffee, and the dreaded back scratching, until I was bored to tears. Enough is enough!
Thank God, the telephone never rang.
to be continued —– all rights reserved