Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Telephone (07/17/08)
TITLE: Alone and Forty
By Angie Thurston
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She expected her brother Tony to call her later. He never failed her. He could always be counted on. At least she had that to look forward to.
What a rotten birthday, alone and forty. She sighed as she looked through the menu. Sheâ€™d made reservations at Trolleyâ€™s before she left the office. If no one was going to celebrate her birthday with her then she would celebrate it by herself. She was regretting her decision, wishing that sheâ€™d stayed home instead, where she could watch Casablanca and eat ice cream.
â€œExcuse me Maâ€™am, telephone,â€ the waiter whispered. He touched her elbow breaking her attention from the menu.
â€œOhâ€¦ no. You must have the wrong person,â€ she laughed, a little embarrassed.
â€œIs your name Victoria York?â€
â€œYeah,â€ she said curiously.
â€œThen you have a phone call, if you would just follow me.â€ He said politely, still holding her elbow.
â€œIs this some kind of joke?â€
â€œNo joke, Miss York,â€ The dark haired waiter chucked. â€œYou really do have a telephone call. You can take it in the lounge. Itâ€™s this way.â€ He gestured with his arm.
â€œDo you know who it is?â€
â€œNo Maâ€™am. I canâ€™t say that I caught his name.â€
â€œHis! Now I know this is a joke. What exactly is going on here?â€ She demanded.
â€œMa'am, I assure you that I donâ€™t know. I was told that a Victoria York had a phone call in the lounge. Thatâ€™s all.â€
She rose to her feet reluctantly. She glanced around the restaurant for familiar faces. Seeing no one that she knew, she tried to take a step but couldnâ€™t, her shoes felt like they were filled with lead.
â€œI donâ€™t believe you. Something is wrong. Thisâ€¦ this is not right. Nobody knows that Iâ€™m here.â€ Her voice trembled almost in panic.
â€œNobody!â€ She cried out, louder than she would have liked.
Now everyone was looking at her. She almost bolted for the door. She certainly would have if her feet didnâ€™t feel like cement blocks.
â€œItâ€™s okay Miss York. I believe the gentleman said he was your brother.â€
â€œMy brother!â€ she exclaimed. â€œNow I know that youâ€™re lying. Who put you up to this? My brother is stationed on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in the Mediterranean Sea, halfway around the world and there is no way on Godâ€™s green earth that he knows that Iâ€™m here!â€ She was glaring at him now.
â€œMaâ€™am, Iâ€™ll just go tell him that youâ€™re not here. That will solve both of our problems.â€
â€œYou just do that.â€
He turned and walked away. Whether it was her anger or just the pure oddity of the situation, she wasnâ€™t sure, but she picked up her purse and followed him into the lounge. She thrust the door open with the palms of her hands and looked wildly around for the waiter.
Voices cheered as she stepped through the door. Before she had time to fully understand what was happening, Tony was standing in front of her with a big goofy grin on his face.
â€œGotcha!â€ He taunted.
Her face turned bright red as she realized that sheâ€™d been taken for a ride, and a good one.
â€œWhat in the world? Tony? How did youâ€¦?â€
â€œNot important. Happy Birthday, Sis. It was made possible with a little help from your friends, mainly Brenda, who is single and quite charming, I might add.â€
â€œSingle and charming, huh? Try dead and buried.â€
â€œObviously sheâ€™s not amused!â€ Tony shouted.
Brenda flung her arms around her. â€œForgive me?â€
â€œNever! You guys really pulled it off didnâ€™t you? All day Iâ€™ve been waiting for a card or a measly happy birthday from ONE OF YOU,â€ she pointed and glared at all of them in the room.
â€œYou guys let me go on thinking I was celebrating my birthday alone. Do you know how depressed I felt? Now I need therapy.â€
She stomped her feet, burst into tears and laughed all at the same time. Everyone started singing Happy Birthday. She hugged Brenda and then Tony. He definitely got her.
It was the best birthday ever.
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