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Contemporary Drama Friendship

WRONG NUMBER    

Mary picked up the phone. She’d try just once more to get the right number. However, just as she was about to do so, it rang. Rather unnerved, Mary said “H…hello?”

“Hello?”

Well, it’s a woman’s voice, Mary mused. At least that was alright. And someone of the correct age group, by the sound of it.

“Hello?” said the voice again (it really sounded very nice, thought Mary) “Is Julia there please?”

“Oh, sorry” said Mary, regretfully “You’ve got the wrong number, I’m afraid.”

The lady on the other end was instantly apologetic. It sounded as though she was always having to be, these days. “I’m really sorry.” she said.

“No, it’s alright.” said Mary. “It’s easily done. I’ve done it myself many a time. Just one digit out, and there you are. Strangely enough, though, my second name is Julia.”

“Is it really?” said the lady “Such a beautiful name, I always think. Actually it’s my sister I’m trying to get through to.” She paused. “My dear mother, God rest her, named her after Julia Mantana, who of course was a big singing star then.”

“Ooh, yes, that’s right!” Mary’s mind was also delving into the past. “I remember seeing a poster of her when she was appearing at the Hastell Palais. She was very popular in her day.”

“That’s right. Of course, my name, Dorothy, is nice enough, but Julia always seemed more glamorous somehow. And she was. My sister, I mean. Always made up so professionally, and never a hair out of place!” Dorothy sighed. “Mind you, I always think a person sort of lives up to their name, don’t you? My name was always shortened to Dot, and what was even worse, Dotty! Imagine trying to live up to that! No wonder nobody ever took me seriously!”

Mary laughed out loud “Oh, yes, I totally agree. Take my name - Mary. I always think it’s such a sensible sort of name, but still, I know I’ve never liked it. I wanted to be called Sophia when I was younger. But I suppose we have to grow into the names we’ve been given.” Mary gave a wistful sigh, and briefly tried - and failed - to imagine herself maturing into an alluring Sophia.

Dorothy was saying excitedly.

“Oh, I do know what you mean. My name made me feel as if I always had to be the grown-up one in my group of friends. It seems to be associated with good works, but there were still lots of times when I didn’t feel good at all!”

Mary giggled. She knew all about that feeling, and said so.

“Well, I remember, as teenagers, what we used to get up to, and I can tell you, some of to-day’s youngsters would be shocked!”

They both burst out laughing. Then Mary came to a decision.

“Tell you what, do you feel like meeting up for a coffee or something? I feel as though I’ve known you for years, so it’d be lovely to see you in person. Carry on chatting! Sounds like a film, doesn’t it?”

Dorothy laughed, and said sincerely. “Thank-you. I’d like that very much. Do you know the Moffatt Tea Rooms in the High Street?”

They fixed a mutually agreeable date, and Mary rang off. She was very excited. She’d made a real friend tonight.

At the tea rooms, Mary recognized her new companion instantly. She saw her sitting at the little table in the corner, one arm resting on the red and white checked tablecloth. Mary could see that Dorothy was much like herself: sensible, plain, even. Short and stocky, with beige clothes. Women like herself, Mary reflected, always seemed to wear beige or a peculiar shade of mint green; or, if it was winter, navy blue or muddy brown. She herself had on a mint green patterned Crimplene dress. Dorothy’s grey locks were, like Mary’s own silver ones, neatly set, and her face had a slightly careworn, anxious look. Mary walked up to the table, but before she reached it, a woman pushed past her and sat down at the table.

“Hello, Una. Have you been waiting long? I think there must have been a bus missing, there were loads of people waiting for it.”

Mary shrank back against the wall in silent amazement. All her preconceptions fell from her like a shawl slipping from her shoulders. She could have sworn that the lady at the table was Dorothy. Oh, well, she would just have to sit here and wait for her, then. As she sat there she looked around her. The café was filling up, slowly expanding with hungry people, thirsty people, or people just arranging to meet friends, like her. The décor was nice, she thought. It was quite a ‘nice’ class of establishment altogether, really.

After a while, she glanced at her watch and picked up her empty cup. The waitress was giving her funny looks, so she called her over and ordered another pot of tea, and a large cream-filled cake. She was quite hungry, waiting all this time. Over in the corner, a lady sitting alone caught her eye. She smiled, and to Mary’s surprise, came over to her table.

“Hello, are you Mary? Mind if I sit down? I’m Dorothy, by the way.”

It was not too much to say that Mary was stunned, because Dorothy was as unlike her idea of an elderly lady as it was possible to be.

Her hair, smartly cropped in the latest style, was blonde without a grey in sight. She had a full make-up on. It brought warmth and colour to her face, and made her look so young. And her clothes! Mary could not believe them. Red teamed with vibrant yellow, almost citrus!

Dorothy was chattering excitedly. Mary, still flabbergasted, was only half listening. She realised that she was wrong to have had such preconceptions. She also felt dowdy and downhearted, till she suddenly remembered one very important fact. She hadn’t been the one to ring first! Loneliness came in all shapes and forms, but it could be beaten, if one was prepared to work at it.

                                                           THE END     

October 12, 2021 15:13

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2 comments

A. Kangiser
00:20 Oct 21, 2021

I love the descriptions. Some of the commas are unnecessary though and the ending feels abrupt but overall it paints a vivid picture in my mind. Please critique my work as well. We are all trying to become better writers and brutal honesty is how I learn the best.

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G.S Rodson
21:47 Oct 20, 2021

I love the descriptions you’ve given in this story. I could really visualise the characters. Lovely moral too.

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