By the Phone

The second day she checked her phone every 15 minutes, not on the 15 marks of the hour, but according to her own mental clock that started the minute her eyes opened.

After the 20th time she checked, she had to admit the pocket-sized hunk of rare metals, plastic, and glass would turn on again. Even if it did, the snowflake crack in the screen would hinder her ability to see anything. But she checked anyway. She just wanted to know the time.

Four times later, she remembered that she could have checked her watch.

Fifteen minutes later, she realized that her watch was dead too.

After the 40th time, she considered lifting herself off the couch. She remembered how to do it. Brace her hand on the arm of the couch, the other on the cushion. Push off. If she could manage to use enough force, she would be standing. If she was standing, she could hobble the two steps over to the wheelchair. If.

The last time she had managed to reach her chair on her own was two year ago. Or five. Maybe ten. Since then she’d had help. But her help hadn’t been to see her for 200 phone checks. She hadn’t left the couch since the power went off. Good thing all of her bodily functions were now handled by a bag.

She considered closing her eyes at the 60th check. But she knew all she would see is the last minute of screen time, with the reporter sobbing, the camera person screaming off camera, and the smoke in the distance.

At least the help had turned on the TV before leaving. However, the remote was still on top of the box. She hadn’t realized that until the first phone check after the power went out.

Push off, stand, two steps, and she would be at the chair. But where then? 10 checks ago there had still been faint glimmers of light through the boards across the window. Not now. She couldn’t even see her phone when she took it out. She took it out anyway and put it back in the pocket of her nightgown each time.

One check later she braced her hands. She braced her hands. She pushed off. Her feet should slide to the ground any second now. And nothing. She hovered an inch off the cushion, her arms vibrating, sweat starting to pool down her arms. She heard her own breathing for the first time in 60 checks, ragged. Her arms gave way. Her butt hit the cushion. She sank back down to the springs.

Another phone check later she remembered. The last time she made it to the chair without help, she’d had legs.

Right before the next phone check, the screaming started outside again. She closed her eyes, hoping they wouldn’t open again.

Thank you Annalisa Parent for inspiring me through your writing salon to create my own stories again! Interested in a writing coach? Check out her website:


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