Good Listener By Leanne Gregg
August 12, 2013 Comments Off on Good Listener By Leanne Gregg
Ellen, you didn’t pick up the phone again. I wanted to talk to you. Now I’ll have to find someone else.
Maybe that brunette jogger I’ve been telling you about or the barista who brews my tea every morning. The one with pale white skin and the lightest dusting of freckles on her cheekbones — you know how I feel about freckles. But I’ve seen her with a little girl about two years old with red curls. I think she takes care of her — she seems too young to be a mother, but you never know these days. I know you think I don’t have a conscience, but after our conversations sometimes . . .
The jogger, she doesn’t have a family as far as I can tell. She runs every morning at exactly 5 a.m. It’s as quiet as a tomb on the weekends, the sound of her sneakers thumping on the pavement, muffled by the thick rows of leafy trees. No one goes through it save for her and me.
I wish you would listen to me, Ellen. You never pick up your phone when I call you these days.
I went to the kitchen supply store yesterday and thought of you. The salesman gave me the most wonderful demonstration of a knife. He turned a radish into a flower. It bloomed wide and full like a rose stretching its petals towards the sun.
I really need to talk with you, Ellen. I wish I could hear your expressions through the phone. Sometimes I imagine what your face looks like up close. What color your skin is. The shape your lips curl into when you frown, and if your eyelids have blue veins in them you can only see when you are sleeping.
Why won’t you talk with me anymore? Is it because of what happened last month? I told you I couldn’t help that. You didn’t answer any of my calls. And that waitress I found was such a good listener. Her lips were so pink and rosy, just a thin layer of translucent skin swelling over the red, hot blood coursing beneath.
Did you get the lipstick I sent you, Ellen? It’s called Vixen. I imagine it would bring some color to your face. I hope you haven’t left town without telling me. I told you not to. It’s such an inconvenience for me to find out new addresses and phone numbers. It’d be so much easier for you just to answer my calls.
When I was at the pharmacy yesterday, they had those rolls of paper stamps. You know, the ones with the perforation on the edges you actually have to tear apart and lick. I never liked those; I always rip off the corners.
I decided to make you something, Ellen. I hope you like it. I won’t tell you what it is yet because I want you to be surprised.
© 2013 Leanne Gregg
Leanne Gregg is a copy writer by trade and also the fiction editor for Literary Orphans. Her short fiction pieces have been featured in Bartleby Snopes, Used Furniture Review, Jersey Devil Press, and others.