Telephone Call

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Literary Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
A man talks to his wife on the phone, but is the phone call may not be what it seems.

Submitted: October 25, 2013

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Submitted: October 25, 2013

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Telephone Call

Crackle, crackle went the phone, just audible, then clearly he heard, “I miss you too much darling. You take care you good, good.”

More static, “Okay, I heard you this time. I miss you too a lot Nok.”

“Bye… darling…….. love…….”, and that was all he caught before the interference faded out and the regular beep of a busy signal was the only sound he heard.

He smiled at the phone. Many people acted awkward or formal on a long distance telephone call, but not Nok. She spoke the same, felt the same, whether she was talking to you while ironing the clothes, “ Oooh, what you do darling? You quiet too much tonight.” “Just reading a good book Nok.”, or if you were on a bus full of people going across the river to downtown, “What you think darling? You think you want wife new?” “Yes, a young one with big tits, but don’t worry, I’ll keep you because you can iron really well.”

“Oh, oh so you have Nok on one side bed and wife new with big tits on other side bed.”

“Oh no, no. The new wife sleeps in the bed with me and you sleep on the floor. Don’t worry; I’ll give you a blanket during the cool season.”

“Okay, okay, you too good me. You give me pillow too?”

The smile trailed off as he realized that she was not in the room with him. Two weeks and she would be back from visiting her family.

 

“How is Chiang Rai?”

“Oooh, nice, beautiful too much. Nok want you come here.”

“I know, I know, but I have to work. Next time I’ll come along with you and see your hometown.”

Chiang Mai nice too much, air good, good darling. You like, not like Bangkok.”

 

 

He felt bored, lonely as he sat mechanically chewing his food. There was a queer silence in the air. The phone rang its little tune. He reached for it and thumbed the activate button.

“Hello darling, you feel lonely so Nok call you.”

“What? …. How could you know?”

“ Nok feel……. Nok know when you no happy, no feel good. You miss me?

“Yes, I miss you. I miss you a lot. The apartment seems so cold and empty. When I come home….it’s really quiet!”

Her laughter trilled its reply, “When Nok home you say, ‘You talk too much’. Now, oooh you miss me too much. I miss you too darling.’

“You have wife new?” she queried.

“Who could possibly replace you.” he sighed.

“Yeah, yeah, okay, okay…. You take care you good, good. You eat good darling. You eat good, you sleep a little, you happy too much…….oot, oot, oot, you like pig.” She laughed her happiness and concern through the telephone.

“Don’t worry Nok. I eat well and yes, I am taking my little naps afterwards…..oot, oot just like a pig

 

 

Two days later, he was marking some tests, missing Nok, not thinking about numerators and denominators, but thinking of her. The telephone played its little tune.

“Hello?”

“Ah hello darling. You working too much? You happy?”

He could see her worried look, her eyebrows arch and fall, smell her subtle fragrance as he listened to her intonated version of English sing through his ear straight on into his heart.

“No, I’m not happy. I am working and I miss you.”

“Oh, no worry. Nok here, but Nok there with you too. You understand?”

“I understand. I feel you here beside me talking.”

“Yes, yes….. I there beside you talking too much.”

“No, I like it when you talk a lot. It fills the silences in my mind.”

“Nok no understand darling.”

“Well you do, but you don’t realize it.”

“What you say?”

“Never mind thii rak. I feel better now. How are you doing?”

“You happy, Nok happy. Husband me no happy, Nok no happy.”

 

It was a Sunday. He lay there luxuriating in the realization that he didn’t have to go anywhere or do anything. He had just had a monumental bowel movement, “I’m eating too much sticky rice,” he murmured to himself. The phone played and he got-up and pick it up off the shelf.

“Hello.”

“Ah, hello darling. How you do today?”

“I am fine Nok.”

“Nok wake you up? You sound sleepy.”

“No, no.”, he laughed, “I was resting after a very big pooh.”

Laughter replied, “Ah, good, good. You pooh two, three times a day. Nok no pooh today so you pooh for Nok too darling.’

“”I’ll do my best dear.”

 

 

A few days later he was sitting reading a book in the apartment. There was a knock at the door, unusual since he didn’t really know anyone.

He got up and opened it anyway.

“Good afternoon sir. Are you Mr. William C. Clarke?”

It was a well-dressed woman, a foreigner like himself, with an official looking Thai man and woman. They looked out of place on this side of the river. Clothes too expensive and bodies used to air conditioned environments did not belong in Dao Khanong

“Ah, yeah. I am he. And who are you?”

“My name is Allison Lafleur. I’m with the Canadian Embassy. The police contacted us when they were unable to find a telephone number and address for you.”

“What’s happened.” thoughts of his Mum and Dad flashed through his mind---they were on in their years, but no his brother knew where he was and had the number.

“Mr. Clarke, I regret to inform you that your wife, Mrs. Silawan Clarke was killed in a bus accident four weeks ago on October 2nd. Apparently, the bus went off the road while trying to overtake a truck. There was a steep drop. Seven people were killed. Your wife was among them. I’m sorry it took so long to notify you, but her family only had her cell phone number and the phone was on her person during the crash.”

He looked puzzled, “Yeah, I know. I was talking to her when she was on the bus. She mentioned that the driver was reckless.”

 

“Ooh, darling. Bus go fast too much! Driver no good, he crazy I think.”

“Don’t worry honey. All the bus drivers are like that here. Buddha is with you.”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah I know. Buddha with me. I no fear death.”

Static, laughter, “You no worry. Nok die she wait for you she take care you good, good.” More static, more laughter.

“Yes, I know. I love you.”

Static, “You sure 100%?”

“Yes, I am sure 100%!

“Okay, okay bye…….. darling……..love you …….much.” static, silence.

He remembered the conversation vividly and the others since then.

 

He focused on the present and the woman in front of him, “Are you certain about the date?”

 She glanced about for a moment and said, “I know it is a shock Mr. Clarke, but all the details are well documented. If you wish we can make a translation of the police report for you.”

“But that can’t be. I just spoke to her on the telephone the other day.”

The embassy official creased her brow in confusion, “Ah, yes. Um. You see every thing has been checked and the body of your wife was positively identified by several family members. They did try to contact you, but were unable to do so. The Chiang Rai police station contacted Bangkok. I apologize for the delay, but things tend to move slowly here.”

The conversation paused awkwardly, “Her family wishes to contact you and to give you some of her personal effects.” She handed him a letter with the family’s address and telephone number in Chiang Rai. Her duty discharged, Ms. Lafleur seemed anxious to retreat back downtown into a cool office tower away from the heat and emotion in the hallway where she was now standing.

He thanked Allison Lafleur, took the letter and closed the door.

“But I spoke to her”, he whispered.

He looked at the walls of the apartment, the floor, the empty bed. He listened intently to the cold silence that filled the room.

 

He sat under a palm tree in a rattan chair. There was a glass table and another rattan chair, empty, opposite him. He looked out towards the river. Confident, relaxed tourists strolled by him through the well moneyed grounds.

“Nok really liked this spot,” he said quietly to no one. He looked at the empty rattan chair apprehensively----it was still empty. “I’m alone,” he said and the tears welled up in his eyes and ran down his cheeks. “I’m alone,” he repeated silently and the words echoed through his mind onto infinity.

He felt the phone ring more than he heard it.

Resignedly, he pushed the activate button, “Hello.”

The line was clear, static free.

“Hello darling. You no cry. You look at flowers. You no alone.”

His expression puzzled, mouth open, tongue still.

“Hello, hello darling. You can hear me no?”

“Yes…….I can hear you.” he whispered.

“You no worry. I take care you good, good. No leave you alone,” the voice said------ Nok’s voice said.

“Okay.”, he whispered.

“Good, good…….”, and on and on she talked to him as he sat, not alone, under the palm trees hearing her voice, her thoughts, feeling her love, watching the river and the sky flow by.

 


© Copyright 2018 Venour Clarke. All rights reserved.

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