Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Outgoing (05/05/11)
TITLE: Daisy's Gain
By Troy Manning
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Feeling unaccountably tense, she sat down on her divan to catch some of the evening news. Last month at this time, Carlos would have been at Daisy’s side drinking an amber ale and watching the Laker game. She turned to tonight’s game and saw the Lakers had an eight-point lead. She knew Carlos would be happy and considered calling to remind him the game was on. Of course he would already know that, she reprimanded herself, switching back to the news. Although the restraining order didn’t expressly forbid phone calls, Daisy knew she was trying to fool herself into thinking the call would be more for his sake than for hers. She listened more intently to the newscaster.
Carlos answered his phone on the second ring. Daisy could distinctly hear the game in the background. She would have hung up immediately but was relieved to hear an undeniable raspiness in his voice. Now there could be no convincing her that her concern for Carlos’ welfare was less than genuine. “Hi Hon’, you okay? You sound like you’ve been swallowing frogs.”
“Do I need to have phone calls added to the restraining order?” asked Carlos.
“No. Don’t do that, please. I wasn’t trying to insult you, I just…”
“I didn’t say you were insulting me,” interrupted Carlos. “I just want you to leave me alone!”
How could any woman resist such unfettered feistiness? she wondered, cheeks flushing.
Daisy heard a click in her receiver and so hung up her phone. She thought to try him back to see if there might have been a faulty connection, but decided he probably hung up on purpose. Her suspicions were further confirmed when the telephone operator assured her the number was in working order.
The telephone lines outside of Carlos’ apartment complex appeared intact, so Daisy continued driving past on her way to the grocery store. Inside the store, she filled a hand-basket with food and toiletry items. She then paused in front of the medicine section, just to see how inflation had been affecting the healthcare industry. That’s robbery, she thought. With the recent reduction in Carlos’ salary, prices like that would pinch awfully hard, if he could even afford cold medicine at all.
Daisy found herself in something of a dilemma as she stood on Carlos’ doorstep. If she just left the medication on his doormat, he wouldn’t see it until morning. But even then he might not see it, since by then he might be too sick to even go to work. Doorbell ditching would work, but then Carlos might think she was immature and not want to continue their relationship.
Carlos answered the door after several knocks. He was an absolute wreck. It was clear to Daisy that no cold could have produced this. His natural magnetism had effectively lost its charge; his normally outgoing self had all but gone out. She hesitated briefly then took the defeated Carlos into her arms.
Looking past him into his living room, she saw the upended television set and smiled. Daisy understood that the Lakers’ loss was her gain.
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