“Good morning, this is Pearl.”
“Who is this? Where are you?”
I blink at my phone.
It doesn’t help, but it doesn’t hurt.
“This is Pearl,” I say. “And where are you?”
“Well I’m – I’m Barbara,” she says crossly. “And I’m not going to tell you where I am.”
I blink again. There is a short silence before Barbara continues.
“Why did you call me?”
I sigh, quietly. Perhaps this is a test of some kind…
“I believe you called me,” I say.
“Not now,” she snaps. “This morning.”
Barbara appears to be a bit peevish.
A light bulb goes off. “Oh,” I say. “I think I know what you’re talking about. Is your number similar to –“ and here I rattle off the number I had mis-dialed earlier in the morning.
There is a silence, long enough that I begin to worry about ol’ Babs.
“Yes,” she cranks. “Yes, it is, and you called me at 7:04. Who calls anyone at 7:04?”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” I say. “I start work at 7:00. I’m sorry if I woke you.”
She sniffs. “I was up at 5:00.” I am certain that this woman is frowning. “I saw that you called but I was out in my garden, and then you didn’t leave a number, and I’ve been worried about it all day!”
“Oh,” I say.
There is another silence.
“It’s so nice in the morning,” she says.
I close my eyes, then shrug. Why not. “Yes,” I say, “but I rarely get a chance to be out in it.”
Barbara cannot contain herself. “What?!” she says. “Well, you should! You should get out. Today is going to be nice at 4:00!”
This Barbara! She’s a bit crabby, but she seems okay. I laugh. “Why at 4:00? I don’t get off until –“
And just like that, there is a click and I am listening to the dial tone.
Barbara has hung up on me.
It haunts me, that conversation.
What made her think it was going to be nice at 4:00?