story: answer

The ghost telephone rings in the middle of the night, and the middle of the day, too. We don’t have a telephone in the house. We don’t even have a telephone connection. But still the damn phone rings all the time.

It wakes me from sweet dreams. It goes off in the middle of my favourite television programmes. I have tried picking up the air, pretending that there is a receiver in my hand, saying hello? hello, who’s there? but I end up feeling stupid, and anyway the telephone still rings and rings, all hours of the day and night.

My housemate doesn’t hear it. I ask her, didn’t it keep you awake all night? And she gives me that look, that tolerant smile. I’m not crazy. It’s just the ringing phone is driving me that way.

What do they want, that’s what I’d like to know. I’ve got an answering machine set up in the hallway, but there are never any messages on it. I’m considering having a phone line connected, although surely that could only lead to more confusion.

The worst thing is, I always feel that the phone is ringing for me. That it wants me, my voice on the line. That it is ringing to tell me something important, something I should know about my life. If only I could get those messages, everything would be all right. The damn phone would stop ringing and everything would be fine.

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