I’m Late

we drink because we’re poets Wednesday Short Story Prompt #11

Was a little late today, and thus:

So, taking inspiration from my lateness, I give you this quote from one of my very favorite stories EVER!!

 I’m late! I’m late! For a very important date!

What were you late for? What happened as a result of your lateness? Armageddon? The Rapture? The opportunity to meet your one true love?

Or something completely different?

“I’m late.”

Yisa hung on the phrase, waiting for some further explanation, but when none was forthcoming, she prompted, “Late for what?”

This was followed by a sigh on the other end of the line.  “No, I mean…I’m late.”

Realization dawned.  “Oh.”

Resignation set.  “Yeah.”

Then disbelief.  “But are you sure?  It’s-”

“Pretty sure.”

“Then how-”

“Look, I don’t have a lot of time to go into it, okay?  Let’s just say ‘it happened’ and move on.”

“Okay.”  Yisa could cope with that for the moment.  “Move on to what?”

“That’s what I think we should talk about.”

“Ah.”  She hated that serious tone.  “Well, obviously there’s some people who need to be told…”

“Yeah.”

“I need more from you than just ‘yeah’,” Yisa snapped.  “I need… oh my god, I don’t even know!”

Another sigh, this time filled with a lifetime of unspoken words that may now be doomed to silence.  “I know.  I’m sorry.  Okay, yeah, maybe some kind of… I don’t know, announcement?  I don’t know how these things are usually done.”

“Me either,” she confessed.  “This is a first.”

“For both of us.”

The ball of stress in Yisa’s stomach turned into a humorless laugh.  “What else?  How are you holding up?”

“Um?”  There was a long pause, then, “Not what I expected.”

“You didn’t really imagine little cherubs with harps laying around on clouds, did you?”

“What? No!  I guess I didn’t know what to expect, but this… I wouldn’t have thought of this.”

Yisa fell silent.  So many questions were fighting for her thoughts, but she pushed them all away and tried to focus on what was most important right now.  “Do you want a ceremony?”

“Maybe.  Yeah.  That would be nice.  Nothing formal, or anything.  But something for people to – y’know – offer a few words?  Not in church, though.  Just… out in a park or something.  Some place quiet; close to nature.”

She nodded, even though it wouldn’t be seen.  Or, maybe it would, she didn’t really know how these things worked, after all.  “That sounds nice.  I’ll make some calls in the morning.”

“I’m running out of time, now.  I don’t know if I can call again, but I’ll try.”

A lump was forming in Yisa’s throat and she had to push it down to get the words out.  “I’m going to miss you.”

“I know.  Me, too.  But I’ll stay close, okay?”

“Can you do that?”

“I don’t know.  I think so.  It’s easier than calling.”

She felt the hair on her neck tingle.  “Are you here now?”

“…yes.”

“Where?”

“Right in front of you.”

She held her hand up and felt a cool sensation against her palm.  “I’m going to really miss you.”

“Yeah.”

A little smile touched her lips even as tears touched her face.  “I never thought it would be so soon.”  She waited for a reply, but none came.  “Zahir?  Are you there?”  But the line had gone dead.

She put the phone down and put her face in her hands.  In all her years of being a medium, she had never imagined this was even possible.  Pulling herself together, she got out a blank note card and wrote,

ANNOUNCEMENT: A memorial for the late Mr. Zahir Salman.  May his soul now find rest.

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17 thoughts on “I’m Late

  1. That is exactly what I love about your writing – I never know what will happen in the end. I start reading and I think I know what is going on, but then it starts to ‘feel’ different, and in the end it’s a completely different story than what I thought it was. Wonderful!

    • LOL! You just described my experience while writing, too. Almost half the time where I start isn’t where I end up, and sometimes I only have an end and have to figure out a beginning! 🙂

  2. Eliza…wow… This is beautiful. When I was reading this, I thought it was about a pregnancy, then by the middle, I was like…”oh…” I feel a bit slow, at the moment, mind you.

  3. Pingback: Wednesday Short Story #11 Results! | We Drink Because We're Poets

  4. I try hard to suspend my assumptions, especially in short stories. It just seems that they are never what you first assume, sometimes, not even what you 2nd or 3rd assume:>)
    I liked it, with that casual ending.
    Patti, a newbie on this scene

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