Image of Short Story
7:00 AM rolls around a little too soon — especially after a night out with the girls. I stumble out of bed and get a good look in the mirror. Last night’s makeup? Check. Texts I don’t remember? Check. Headache and a slight feeling of nausesa? Doube check.... Crap, where are my keys? My phone buzzes with a text from Katie. “Hey girl! Last night was crazy. I found your car keys in my bag this morning. Good thing we took an uber lol.” Ugh, right, womens pants and their stupid small pockets. It’s fine, I have a spare somewhere around here. I slump downstairs, grab some Pedialyte, and start searching through the junk drawer. God, why do I have so much stuff in here? After I find this key I’m really going to have to organize.
The drawer’s filled with tons of stuff I’ve collected over the years. Not things that I set out to keep, but things I felt like I couldn’t part with immediately.
● A Nokia cell phone from 2004. These things are indestructable. Plus, you can’t just throw them in the trash anyway. Who has time to make a special trash run?
● A collection of menus from all of the local take out spots. Multiple of which are from Pizza City. My mom always said their buffalo chicken pizza was way better than any other joint’s.
● So many cables. I have no idea what any of them go to. Maybe one’s the Nokia charger? I know I’ll need them the second I throw them out.
Why don’t I have a key hook like normal adults? Who thinks “Yes, this drawer full of crap is a perfect place to keep this very important item?” I always thought I had a messy, but organized lifestyle. Yeah, it doesn’t make logical sense to anyone else, but it’s my mess and I know where everything is. Or so I thought... where is this god damn key?
● Pens. Half of them don’t even work and here I am putting them right back into the drawer anyway because they’re cute.
● A phonebook. Filled with the contact information of relatives and old friends that I haven’t talked to in years. When I graduated high school my mom moved across country with her new boyfriend and wrote down her new cell phone number. She told me that even though things are changing I could still call her with anything. I’ve never used it.
● A stapler. With no staples.
I am going to be so late to this meeting if I don’t find this key soon. Shit, I guess I should just pay for an Uber. After work I’m going right to Marshall’s and buying a key hook. And stopping at Katie’s place.
● A photograph. It’s my mom and I from my 10th birthday. It used to hang on my fridge, but after a year passed without hearing from her I couldn’t stand to see it anymore.
● Cough drops. Honestly, these are probably way expired, but an expired cough drop is better than no cough drops, right?
● A keychain. From our last family vacation before my parents split. It’s shaped like a flip flop and says “Cancun 2011.” I can’t remember a single moment that we were all happy that week in Mexico.
This stupid keychain would be perfect for this stupid spare key. If I can ever find the stupid thing. They’d make a perfect stupid pair.
● A playbook. From my last high school show – Shrek the Musical. Inside reads “Never stop performing. Love, Mom.” My passion for acting died that year, just like her love for me.
Four years have passed since I’ve last talked to her. I haven’t reached out to her, but she hasn’t tried to call me either. Since when is it the kid’s job to act like the adult? How can someone who brought you into this world leave you here so easily? What did I do wrong?
● A card. “Happy Birthday. Another year older, another year wiser. Love, Mom.” The last card she ever sent.
She mailed this to me on my 18th birthday. No phone call. The card came in the mail a couple days after my birthday with those ten words inside. The last ten words she’s ever told me. God dammit! My headache has slowly been getting worse, I still can’t find this stupid key, and now I’m crying over her again?
I slam the drawer shut. Pause. Deep breaths. I reach into the overhead cabinet and grab two ibuprofen and a glass. I turn on the faucet, fill the glass, splash some water on my face. Deep breaths. I walk back upstairs to grab my cell phone. 7:30 AM. I should be leaving for work in 20 minutes. Instead I dial the front desk. “Hey, Jane, I can’t make it in today I’m feeling pretty under the weather... Yeah, thanks, I’ll be back in tomorrow.” Send a quick text to Katie, “Hey girl! Last night was totally crazy. Called out of work today, think you can drop off my keys later?” I sit back onto my bed, still staring at my phone. God dammit. Something inside tells me to head back downstairs, back into the drawer, back to the barely used phonebook.
My hand glides over the page where she wrote her number all those years ago. I unlocked my phone, but can’t manage to type her number. Pause. Deep breaths. I’ve never dialed a number this slowly. My thumb hovers over the green call button. I press the button and it starts to ring. And ring. And ring. The robot voice greets me, “Your call has been forwarded to an automated voice message system...” I hang up. Calling took enough out of me, I can’t leave a voicemail. I sink to my kitchen floor, phone and phonebook still in hand, and just sit. Close my eyes, put my head back against the counter, and attempt to fight the flood of emotions trying to break their way to the surface. A few minutes pass and my phone vibrates. A text from my mom’s number reads, “Who is this?” I stare at it for a bit. Try to decide how to respond. If I even want to respond. “Hey mom, it’s Jamie.” I decide to leave it at that. Let her lead the conversation. I can’t look away from my phone screen as the typing bubbles pop up. It feels like an eternity before the response comes through. “I’m sorry. I think you have the wrong number. I don’t have a daughter.”¬