Sixteen Missed Calls



Also Featuring:


Scene Title Sixteen Missed Calls
Synopsis Emily Epstein checks her phone.
Date July 14, 2018


The door opens awkwardly, spilling light from the hallway into the darkened apartment. The creak of a wheelchair’s frame pierces the quiet, and its occupant fights with the heavy door as she wheels herself in from the narrow hallway. Once she's inside, she pushes the door shut with a soft click, and the apartment is nothing but darkness again.


There's no answer, she's not home tonight. The wheelchair navigates the darkness, treaded tires scuffing hardwood floor, creeping past sofa and end table with familiar grace. Eventually it comes to stop by an old, ratty recliner that's barely visible in the light from the city outside. As Emily Epstein boosts herself up out of her wheelchair, she walks a few steps over and then shakily settles down in the armchair on unsteady legs.

The glow of her cell phone illuminates her face, and she threads one locke of dirty blonde hair behind an ear.

16 Missed Calls
8 New Voicemails

Jesus Christ,” Emily whispers to herself, it was at six missed calls last time she checked, when she turned her notifications off. But that was hours ago. Now that she's back in the one-bar range of Elmhurst’s cell tower, it's revealed just how much she'd missed.

For a moment, Emily turns off her screen. The room is dark again, save for the lights of the hospital not far away. Then she turns the screen back on, sniffling softly and scrubbing one thumb at the corner of her eye. Her thumb swipes across the phone and dials her voicemail.

In the time it rings, her eyes wander the city skyline.

«One new message from: 212-200-7307»
«Received at… 4:53 pm»
«Hey, it's me. Uh. Yeah, never mind.»
«End of message»

Emily rolls her eyes and sets the phone in her lap, putting it on speakerphone.

«One new message from: 212-200-7307»
«Received at… 5:12 pm»
«Hey, can… can you give me a call? Or— I dunno, pick up? I… I want to talk to you.»
«End of message»

She looks down to her lap, then over to the window.

«One new message from: 212-200-7307»
«Received at… 5:33 pm»
«Look I… I don't want to do this over a machine. C’mon, please? Emm, it's important.»
«End of message»

Closing her eyes, Emily presses her lips together in a thin line and wipes at one of her eyes.

«One new message from: 212-200-7307»
«Received at… 6:06 pm»
«Emily, for fuck’s sake please just pick up. Please.»
«End of message»

Emily’s brows knit together, lips work into a frown and she sucks in a sharp, slow breath.

«One new message from: 212-223-6087»
«Received at… 6:12 pm»
«Emma it's mum, your dad just called. Me. Because you won't pick up. Can you please answer his call so he'll leave me alone? Please, sweetie?»
«End of message»

A sigh slips out, followed by a roll of her eyes. “Christ.”

«One new message from: 212-200-7307»
«Received at… 7:01 pm»
«Fine. I get it. I do, I really do. I've been a shit father to you pretty much your entire life. I wasn't there when you needed me, and now that I need you… you're all fucking grown up and Cats in the Cradle what the fuck ever. I'm— I just needed… I’m doing something for work and I'm not sure if I'm coming back from it. I’m old, Emm. I… I just… I wanted to hear your voice. I don't…»
«End of message»

Swallowing audibly, Emily looks down to the phone and exhales a gasping breath, scrubbing at her eyes with the heel of her palms.

«One new message from: 212-200-7307»
«Received at… 8:18 pm»
«I love you, kiddo. Proud of you.»
«End of message»

A keening sound slips from the back of Emily’s throat, and as she hunches over she presses one hand to her brow and strangled a ragged sob that shakes her small shoulders and sends a tremor into her jaw.

«One new message from: 212-618-4421»
«Received at… 8:48 pm»
«Emm, it's Julie. Something came up, I won't be home tonight. Love ya, bye!.»
«End of messages»
«There are no more messages. Main menu…»

Slapping her phone until it stops making noises, Emily doubles over and wraps her arms around herself, burying her face into the chair and crying out into that warm, dark night.

He wanted to say goodbye.

Just in case.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License