She leaned back in the large plush chair and contemplated the guitar sitting across the room. It had, for the last five hours, refused to cooperate in making one decent riff. Everything sounded discordant, even her vast collection of recorded music sounded unlistenable.
Silence pervaded the one room apartment, two if you counted the bathroom. Even the kitchen was part of the main area - no more than a small counter and row of tiny appliances against one wall. Toaster oven stacked on microwave oven stacked on pint size refrigerator, next to half sized oven next to sink next to exactly 18 inches of counter space.
The phone rang. Mad scramble out of the chair, across the room over two amplifiers only to find that the phone was not in the cradle. Who said modern culture didn't encourage exercise? How much energy is spent searching for all the wireless parts of the million gadgets that make up our lives.
Ringing from underneath something, clothing? no, the tiny closet that actually did contain the clothes was not a place the phone had ever ended up. Well, just that once. Bed then, scramble across the room, again over the two amplifiers, just the other side of the chair. No more than a futon mattress on the floor. Got it on the fourth ring before the infernal answering machine could, it was hiding underneath one of the two pillows all along.
"Yes?" A slight level of anticipation in her voice. She brushed long black hair out of her face.
"Hey mom." All anticipation gone, this was not who was supposed to call. She had apologies to make and not to her mother.
"Just sitting around, trying to write music." She slumped back into the chair, tucking one bare leg under her. Wearing shorts on a cold November day assured she would stay inside and work. Boston was the best distraction she could think of other than sex.
"The band? Doing fine, got a gig on saturday this week as well." Outside freezing rain had been falling for the last nine hours.
" Here? Cold, been raining all day. Still warm in California?" She smiled, of course it was. Her parents moved there six years ago, she hadn't been to visit since.
"Nothing's wrong." Her mother had caught the hint of anticipation when she answered the phone, could tell she was anxious now.
"No really, I'm fine." She sighed, mother always knew.
"We had a fight last night." She decided to just tell her after all, maybe her mother could actually help. She doubted it, but now was as good a time as any to tell her about it.
"No, not my boyfriend." Short pause. "Not the band." Longer pause. "Mom?" silence and recognition. "Bi-sexual mom." Her eyes rolled up. "Mom!" Cut off. "Would you listen for a second." Probably not. "Shut up!" She almost yelled it. Her mom had been yelling obscenities at her father across their nice large suburban house. Dead air on the line, moments passed, her dad picked up the phone.
"Hey dad." Tone of disappointment in her voice. Dad would make it right, he always did.
"Ummm." The question caught her off guard. "Mostly mine. I was, I was being selfish." She shrank into the chair. Fifteen minutes and dad solved her relationship problems, and not once did he mention that she find a nice man to settle down with. Her brother and sister had both assured that he had grandchildren, he had a way of taking all the pressure out of life.
He spent the nex hour on the phone walking her through the preparation of a romantic dinner for two using the limited resources found in the apartment. Four eggs, milk, bread, pepper, salt and coffee.
"If this works I'm coming out for christmas this year, I promise." He laughed and called her a liar. "You think I'm kidding, wait until I show up on the doorstep." She was laughing again, daddies little girl. It helped to be the youngest.
December 22, the flight left Boston without incident, arrived in Orange County after a five hour lay over in Chicago due to icy conditions.
Apparently the secret to a romantic dinner was in what you said and not what you ate. Learn something new everyday.
copyright © 2000 Gordon Feiner
(it popped strait out of my head and onto Usenet, stories are sometimes a series of connected scenes for me, so I spend a lot of time thinking out how one scene goes before going on with a story, this was one of those times where there was a scene and no story to go with it so it became the story on its own - kinda fun to write things like this.)