I don't believe my ears.

Submitted into Contest #160 in response to: Start your story with the whistle of a kettle.... view prompt


Contemporary Romance

Opening Scene

           What is that sound? My ears are telling me that what I am hearing is the whistling of a kettle. But I just can’t believe my ears. It just couldn’t be. Do people actually hallucinate sounds? That’s probably what it is. I sometimes see things that aren’t really there, so why not sounds as well. I could be that lonely these days that my mind overrules my senses in what it wants to hear.

Two Weeks Earlier

           Gloria receives a much awaited phone call. It is good news. She then thinks about communicating it to her husband Bill at work in his job as a truck driver delivering supplies in their hometown.

           Gloria wants to communicate this good news to her husband, but she thinks. ‘I wish that Bill wasn’t such a cell phone fogie. He never takes his phone with him when he leaves the house. It drives me crazy. I will just have to write my message down to him on paper. I know that he won’t like it that I will be away for a while, but I know that he will support me’.

The Intended Message


I got a phone call from the stage company. They are going to give me the part in the play. The actor who had the part before was in a car accident, so they need me to go to Calgary, learn the lines, and play the part this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and the same days the week afterwards.

You know how I am. I have to completely focus on the lines for the next two weeks. Please do not call me. I can’t be distracted. I wish it were otherwise, or that you could come with me. But I know that you can’t leave on the spur of the moment, as you are needed at work. I will tell you all about it when I get back. Thank you for your ever-present understanding.


Gloria Receives an E-mail

           Not long after writing down her message, Gloria receives an e-mail from the director of the play. She writes down the crucial words carefully with the pen she already has in her hands. It is important that she is able to read what it says, over and over, until memorized. 

           Gloria leaves the lines she has just written on the table while she heads rather quickly to the bathroom. She then loads her suitcase up with her clothes and other necessities, and heads straight to the front door. 

           “Damn. I almost forgot to take the lines with me. What a fool I am!”

           She runs to the table and grabs while walking one of the two sheets of paper. Then she heads out the door and to her car. She quickly, carelessly and awkwardly stuffs what she is carrying into the trunk. She does not notice that in so doing she drops the sheet of paper onto the driveway. When she drives away, it blows off of the driveway onto the road. The wind will take it farther away.

           Her drive takes four hours. It won’t be until she reaches her eventual destination, a small motel not far from the theatre, that she realizes what has happened. She calls up the director, and receives once again the lines that she has to memorize, and writes them out as he slowly, carefully reads them out to her so that she can write them down.

In the Meantime Bill…

           Around three hours after Gloria left speeding away in her car, Bill arrives back home. He is surprised that she isn’t at home, but that doesn’t bother him much. She is always on the go. And it looks like she placed a note on the dinner table that would explain everything. He hopes that it is good news about the play. Bill knows how much she wanted to get the part.

           He picks up the notepaper and begins to read. It isn’t like anything she has ever written or even said to him before. He had no idea that she had the feelings that she is expressing in the note, and in big letters too.  He sits down in shock and surprise. Then he reads the paper over again to see whether the words are what he thought they were. To his dismay, his first impressions were bang-on.

           It has been a long time since he has cried, but he certainly opens up the floodgates this time, and it takes him a while to stop the tears, and diminish his physical response to the note to mere sobs and sniffles. 

           While Bill is going through his personal torture, Gloria is practicing her lines for the play. She has a hard time feeling the part, that’s for sure. This is not something she has even come close to feeling, and certainly not anything like what she had ever said to or felt about her husband Bill.

Valerie’s Lines in the Play

           The play is called “Who is the Real Albert?” The story is a kind of comedy/farce about a man and his very different relationships with four different women. One of those women, Valerie, appears in only one scene, in which she writes the following letter. His relationships with the other women is very different. The audience only gets to see and hear Albert in the last act. They can then decide what his true nature is.”

           “I can’t hold back my feelings anymore. They are eating me up inside. Marrying you was by far the biggest mistake I have ever made. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t regret that I even met you. I had no idea before we got married that you were anything like that.

           Here is my plan. I am going to leave you and never return. You will be hearing from my lawyer shortly, as I want to divorce you as fast as I can.

           Be aware that I will be telling all of our close friends about what life with you is like, how incredibly BORING that you are. I have more interesting conversations talking to a wall. Your precious reputation in this town is going to be destroyed.

           Don’t even try to call me. I won’t pick up.”

We Return to the Beginning: Bill Hears a Familiar Sound

           Bill hears what sounds like the whistling of a kettle.  He heads quickly to the kitchen, to find out whether he is imagining it. Yes, he got it right. He sees the steam rising, and then he is in for an even bigger surprise. There is Gloria with a box of doughnuts in her hands. She puts them down beside the kitchen sink, and then pours the hot water into the teapot. After putting the kettle down, she rushes over to Bill, gives him a big hug and a smoochy kiss. The hug lasts for a while. Neither of them wants to let go.

           Then, pulling away to pour the tea for both of them, she tells him that the play she wrote to him about was a big success, and she was applauded at the end, even though she had to say lines that were definitely not her, about a horrible marriage. Bill looks surprised at first, and then has a thought, which he articulates quickly. “I think that I know what those lines were. You left them on the table.” It is Gloria’s turn to look surprised. Then she has a thought, and with a quickly spewed “Oh my God,” she renews the hug.

August 21, 2022 18:01

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