A short call between friends. One of my first works and a bit amateurish.
(Author's Note circa 2006: This was originally written in 2000 for a friend's website. The website would issue a writing challenge, or stimulus, every week. This was written for the stimuli "He hung up the phone." and "So many words, so little said." You can check out the currently inactive website at http://www.chaoseed.com/btr/sbp/ )
"Come on, answer!" Joe muttered to himself. He paced the floor nervously, waiting for her to answer. He had been practicing this a lot of times the past afternoon. This time he was finally going to say it!
That was the third ring and still no one was answering yet. Joe thought of what he was going to do again. Karen was going to answer the phone. He would indulge her in a little light chitchat, while moving the conversation subtly to the topic of their friends' lovelives. And when he feels that it is the right moment, he would tell her how he felt about her. He would ask her for that date.
Somewhere during the course of his thinking, he berated himself mentally for being such a wuss when it came to girls.
"U-um, hello? K-karen?" he stammered.
"Yes," Karen confirmed. "Who is this?"
"I-it's Joe." He took a deep breath to steady his nerves. "Joe, from Kentwood High."
"Joe! Of course I remember you! It's nice to hear from you. How long has it been? Two, three months?" came Karen's cheerful voice through the phoneline.
"Two months, actually. We saw each other at Mae's birthday, right?" Joe managed a chuckle. She remembered him! That was good. He thought that college would make her forget him. She didn't seem to pay him much attention during the party they went to.
"Yeah, that's right. How are you doing? Still taking up that Psychology course?"
Joe felt strange hearing her voice. It felt ... warm and fuzzy? Why? He didn't know. Maybe just hearing her voice again was all he needed?
No! Joe thought to himself. I have to tell her how I feel about her! It might be too late next time.
"Yeah, I'm still taking up Psych. I was thinking of changing my major, though," he replied. I just have to find the right time to say it, Joe thought.
"Oh? Why is that? When we were in high school together, you seemed like you could handle anything. You even managed to understand that Trig stuff, for Christ's sakes!"
Joe chuckled a bit into the phone. "Yeah, that's why everyone called me the class nerd!"
Karen giggled on the other end. "Sure, that's how we show you how much we like you."
The conversation lasted for over an hour. The topic of their conversation switched from one topic to another: their mutual friends, who was taking up what, the basketball game the night before, Richard's new hairdo...
Except the thing Joe wanted to say when he first dialled up Karen's number.
So many words, so little said.
Why? Why can't I seem to get it out? Joe thought to himself as Karen talked about the Debate club she joined. Damn it! Why?
He couldn't find the answer. Was it because he didn't want to risk losing her friendship? Was all that he needed to know was that he was still her friend? Was that it? Maybe he was just looking for an old friend?
"Oops, sorry, I gotta get back to studying. I have a test in Politics tomorrow afternoon," Karen informed him.
"Uh, sure," Joe replied uncertain. Should he say it now?
He tried but failed. He gulped and cursed his own weakness.
"You study hard, okay? I'll stay in touch."
"Sure, call me anytime. I kinda miss hearing from my high school friends," she replied.
"Yeah," Joe said, then silently added to himself, "just friends."
"Bye!" she said before hanging up.
He hung up the phone.