(Also for Three-Word Wednesday and Sunday Scribblings)
"P" is for Phone Conversation
I had sat at the typewriter for over an hour, trying to figure out what to write. (This happened back in the days before I got around to email.)
I had received an extraordinary letter. It was from a man up in Rhode Island, a man I had known in the old days.
It was a delicate matter; I had known him and also known his wife, back before they were married. I had known her, actually, rather well.
In his letter he said she had left him and he thought I might be able to help him find her. The problem of what to write was suddenly solved because the phone rang. Since he hadn’t received an answer to his letter he decided to call me directly. He got right to the point.
"Reason I wrote you, you went with her for a year or so back then, before we got married."
“A year or so? It was actually a few months. And ‘went with her’ isn’t really accurate; we were friends.”
“That ain’t what I heard.”
“So, well, anyway, how is Marilyn? Okay I hope.”
“Marilyn? You don’t even remember her name. It’s Maureen.”
“Oh, right. You know, it was a long time ago; I was just out of college. I don’t remember everyone I knew in those days.”
“Well, as I wrote you, she left. Just got up and left.”
“Yes, I was sorry to read that.”
“It got me upset; my whole family is upset. It even got her family upset. A married woman. My wife. Just up and leaves. Anyway, I thought you might help.”
“Sure, if I can.”
“Here’s the thing. If she should ever contact you – you know, call on the phone to talk over old times or whatever – could you tell her that what she really ought to do is go back to her husband. And then let me know where she’s staying. It’s important that I find out where she’s staying.”
“Why do you think she left?”
“Who knows? Maybe she just don’t like Rhode Island.”
“She told me, way back when she was first talking about getting married, that she felt vulnerable, that you weren’t – well – all that nice to her.”
“That’s baloney. If she said anything like that, it was a figment of her imagination. As her husband, I worked hard, fifty hours a week sometimes, to get her whatever she needed. You can’t be much nicer than that.”
“But, you never – I’m just trying to figure out why she left -- you never abused her, never hit her or anything like that?”
“What’re you -- a shrink or somethin’!? I didn’t call you to get a lecture! I’m a husband from the old school. My whole family, we know how to treat women.”
“Well, I’m sorry I can’t be of much help. But I'll go along with you in this operation; if I should ever hear from her, I’ll tell her to go back to her husband. Goodbye.”
I hung up the phone.
“Was that him?” she asked.
“Yes. I just hope he stays up there and doesn’t come down here to New York. As I remember, he was a pretty big guy. I’d be inclined to avoid a confrontation.”
“Yes, we’ve got to be careful. When I mentioned divorce, he said he’d kill me first.”
“And that would mean me second. I guess this is what they call living dangerously. But it’s worth it, Maureen – to have you with me again.”
1 year ago