Did not know what to write, so logged on the Creative Writing Prompts and got this:
“You came home and check your phone messages. You get to the 3rd message and you freeze. Begin from here.”
I know it’s her. It sounded foreign, yet startlingly familiar. Memories of her came back to me, but deep inside, I wished that they didn’t. It was difficult for me to accept that she had finally called. After so many years of waiting, yearning and hoping – I had given up. The frustrations had hurt me deeply. I knew I would not want to go through it again. The blurry memories, kept hidden in a distant corner of my brains were slowly playing before my vision. I sat down, covered my face in my palms and tried to push them away. I wanted to reach over and delete the message but something was preventing me to do so. I didn’t know what it was.
The message was clear and straight to the point. ‘It’s me. I need to speak to you. Call me.’ That was it. No name, no number. How dare she think I remembered her. But I did. And what made her think I still kept her number? I still did. And it’s still clear in my mind, as if it was only yesterday I dialled it. I felt angry at myself for being able to remember.
I struggled to make my decision. To call or not to call. Perhaps I could just ignore the message. To make myself believe that I had not received or heard it before. But I knew it was impossible. The temptation was too strong. I knew I had to call and confront her. Ask her for the answers to my sleepless nights and endless misery. Make her take responsibility of my shattered life, the important things that had been so abruptly taken away from me.
I took a deep breath and composed myself. The mundane dial tone sounded scary. With every ring, I was nearer to the truth. And with every ring, my heart seemed to beat faster. I could not bear to take it anymore. I wanted to put the phone down but a small, timid voice, answered, stopping me.
“Err.. umm.. can I speak to Alice?” I had not expected this. A young child answering the phone. I thought she would be the one picking up – like it used to be.
“Hello?” I spoke again.
“Mummy!” the child screamed to someone. Her voice was soft. Weak, to be exact.
Mummy? Is she married?
There were footsteps hurrying towards the phone. “Thank you, darling,” the familiar voice said.
My heart froze again.
I turned mute for a second. Emotions overcame me. I did not expect this to be so hard.
I swallowed. “It’s me.”
I could literally hear her breathing stopping. For a few seconds, no words were exchanged between us.
“Come on, speak up! You were the one who asked me to call,” I snapped, unintentionally. I knew this would make her angry. She would scream at me for this, like how she used to.
However, she didn’t. Surprisingly.
“Sorry. I have no choice but to call you. This is important.” Her voice sounded serious. I didn’t like the sound of it at all.
“What’s so important?” I spoke in my harsh tone. Deep inside, however, I felt awful. I wanted to tell her how I really felt, how glad and happy I was to hear from her again. But my pride prevented me from doing so. I didn’t realise I missed her so much.
“You have a child and she is sick.”
Time seemed to have stopped at that instant. Her words rang in my ears repeatedly although she had stopped talking. My child?
The receiver nearly fell from my grip. Since when? No! It isn’t true!
“I know it’s hard for you to digest this, but it’s true. Michelle is your child and she needs you,” the voice I have longed to hear from all these years rang in my ears again.
“Wh — what in the world?” My voice choked, I did not know what I wanted to ask.
“I’m sorry, Jack. I have kept her from you for so many years. I didn’t want you to know. But –“
“But what?!” Anger flooded back. How dare she! How dare she do this to me again!
“Michelle is recently diagnosed with leukemia and she needs a blood tranfusion. Mine — mine’s not suitable and you — you are my only hope,” her voice no longer sound cold. It was desperate.
I didn’t know what else to say. Words were beyond me. I didn’t even know what I should do. I was due to get married tomorrow and my ex is on the line, telling me of my sick child I never knew existed.