Plan for a Phone Call

by Emily McPhillips

Hair like fondant icing dripping in the heat, it sticks to her face. Eyes like plumped pillows, discomforting eyes, eyes quietly bulging heavy with tears. She sits by the phone with a sheet of lined paper; she has written a list of twelve topics, they include: university course, the new Robert Redford movie, the name James underlined.

The surface she sits on is a glazed kitchen worktop of marble. The kitchen units are dark mahogany brown, their handles are unfashionable. Her whole body is elevated, her legs tight together and the phone held in her left hand; she nurses it against her ear, her chin against her knee, and her right hand clutched over her legs so tight together. She is making herself feel very small. She dials the number as though she is sure it won’t ring; the phone rings and the handset fills her mouth; it is tasteless, like forgotten chewing gum. The phone rings and the words on the sheet of lined paper look like severe sounding notes played on an organ. The sound of the organ filters into the handset, she gets scared; she can’t play any musical instruments and she hangs up the phone.

Her cheeks are a shade of stinging red, of cherry blossom in a Japanese garden. She looks very beautiful in the dimly lit light. She sits by the phone like a jilted lover, and lets the shadows cast by the window blinds stripe her skin. Pink tissues surround her feet like soft flowers. She is as delicate as porcelain, and is admired by many as an acutely tuned porcelain doll. Her lips have dried under her lipstick and they crack at the edges. She tastes the copper like taste of old two-pence-pieces, and she is all too formidably aware of the stillness around her, the phone off the hook, and the dead drone emanating from the receiver resting slightly askew.

Emily McPhillips was born in 1985. She lives in Manchester. Take a look at her fanzine ‘Ministering to a Lunatic’ here.

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  1. #1 by Leah on December 3, 2010 - 9:09 am

    Very certain, sharp, tight writing, “picture perfect.”

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