The Big Red Box
We were all so excited when the first public telephone was installed! And
it remained an important part of
my life . . .
of the sharp, sweet fruit. I licked my lips, wanting something to eat.
Back then, I was always hungry. From my pocket, I found a red unwrapped boiled sweet that I had to pick dust and hair off. I popped it into my mouth.
“Such an ugly thing,” my mother said. “It’ll not last long.”
At that moment, I wondered whether the brightness of the phone box would fade away, like the taste of my sweet. I stuck out my tongue and saw it was stained red.
“I hate you,” I choked out, not sure if I meant Matthew or Susan or my tears.
There were worse things to cry about than a kiss, but it kept on replaying in my head. The swing music still rang in my ears.
I struggled back to my feet. Gulping back tears, I tried to remember where I was. The rain crept down my throat, beneath my clothes, and seeped into my clammy flesh.
In the dark, gloomy distance I saw a splash of red. The phone box!
I hurried to it and clambered inside to get out of the rain.
“I’ve got to go, Mum. Some girl’s just come in.” A young man put down the phone. “Did you want to call someone, love?”
“No, I –” I coughed and tried to