The Big Red Box

The People's Friend Special - - FAMILY STORY -

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

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