I feel bit calmer this week, no complaints to rant about, so on to the next part of our serial, Nancy, Please. Last time, Nancy had done a bad thing. A very bad thing.
Read the previous posts HERE, but now, on to part #10
The corridor opens out into a larger room. Let me tell you what I see, because you won’t believe it. I know I am struggling to comprehend what I’m seeing. To our left, a long wooden desk stretches almost the length of the room. On the desk are what look like two computer monitors. I know the computers are somewhere, because the silence is the room as almost absolute, and I can hear the hum of hard drives somewhere. Next to each screen is a telephone with an accompanying notepad and pen. There is nothing written on the pads as far as I can tell. Sitting in front of each of the monitors, hands tapping away at keyboards, are two women. Both are dressed in smart business attire, hair scraped back from their faces, tied up in scrunchies. Both women are engrossed in whatever it is they are doing, and neither looks up as we walk into the room. If I didn’t know better, and now I’m not entirely certain I do, I’d say we had walked into the reception of some high-class business. Even the art work hanging on the walls speaks of opulence. This is nothing like the reception where I work – where I worked, as I can’t imagine them having me back.
“Nancy De’Angelo.” The voice is loud in here.
“You can get that at the white phone.” One of the typing women raises a hand to point to the end of the long desk. Sitting by itself, I see the white telephone she is pointing to. She doesn’t even raise her eyes as she speaks. I allow Amy to push me towards the phone with a hand in the centre of my back, and I trail my hand along the desk as I walk.
The phone is old. Made of grubby white Bakelite, its large rotary dial takes up almost the whole face and the numbers in the holes are faded. I suppose the phone would be considered retro now. I remember having one as a girl. There is a small red light blinking on the top of the phone.
“Just pick it up and press the red button”.” The woman that had spoken before spoke again. She has returned her hands to the keyboard, but she still hasn’t lifted her head.
I’m not sure why, but I look back at Amy, who nods at me, then inclines her head towards the phone. I know what I need to do. I don’t need a reminder from this woman. I think I expected something different to happen when I pick up the phone, maybe a static charge or something, but no, the receiver is smooth and cold as I put it to my ear. I hear nothing and look back to Amy again. I feel a little stupid as she points to the red light, still blinking, on the top of the phone. I press the button and the light winks out. “Hello?” What else was I supposed to say?
For several long moments I hold my breath, as there is still nothing on the other end of the line, then I hear a voice, distant, almost whispering. “Is this Nancy? Nancy De’Angelo?”
I don’t recognise the voice, but perhaps that’s because it’s so quiet. I don’t know what to do now, other than answer the question. “Yes.”
“I have someone here that wishes to talk to you.”
There is another moment of silence as I clutch the phone to my face with both hands, then, louder than the previous speaker, a second voice: “Nancy?”
Oh God. I can’t deal with this now, and I pull the phone from my ear and clutch it against my chest. I’m not ready to have this conversation. I’m not sure if I’ll ever be ready for this conversation. I can still hear the voice speaking, muffled against my chest. I think the best thing I can do is what I’ve done before: run away. I place the phone gently down on the table. I can still hear the tinny voice calling my name, so I carefully push the handset across the table and turn around. Amy steps in front of me, hands towards me. What is her fucking problem?
“Nancy are you still there?” Even at this distance I can make out the voice. It’s really not something I want to deal with. I don’t even know why I told Amy all of this shit. I suppose it was because I don’t know her, or maybe because she told me about her sister.
“Leave me alone!” I wish I’d never allowed this woman to lead me here.
“You need to speak into the handset, otherwise they can’t hear you.” The woman behind the desk spoke again.
“They’ll just keep calling.” I’d almost forgotten Amy was still here. Her hands have dropped back to her side but she is still standing in my way. “At least until you talk to them,” she finishes.
“I’ve got nothing to say other than what’s probably already been said. Why call me now?” I want to push past the bigger woman, but she doesn’t look ready to move.“I don’t know that, do I?” Amy’s voice is calm, controlled. It makes me feel angrier than I already am. “Why don’t you ask?” Again she indicates the phone.
More from Nancy next week.