The Phone, It Rings

I bid a fond good night to Grandma and the Soju shelf, and the Master showed me to the guest room. He lingered for a few minutes to make sure I was situated before he went off to bed himself. I believe he was truly pleased to see me again.

In the room there was a thin pad to sleep on, a thick blanket, a dirty pillow, and a mosquito net hanging down from the ceiling. That’s right, a mosquito net. Certainly a first for me. This was well before I started experiencing my nighttime anxiety attacks that I elsewhere referred to as “Adult Onset Fear of Waking Up dead,” but sleep did not come easy that first night at Grandma’s house.

Around 2 a.m. the phone started ringing. From my time spent at The Master’s previously, I knew that daytime and nighttime were very loose guidelines for when to sleep and when to be awake. So I was not surprised someone might call regardless of the hour. But at Grandma’s house, there were only two phones; one in her room, and one in the guestroom (my room). There was no voice message machine so the phone rang and rang and rang as it seemed Grandma had no interest in answering it. Finally it rang off after what seemed like 30 rings. A few minutes later it started ringing again. This time after quite a few rings Grandma picked it up. She yelled for the Master’s wife. I heard the wood-framed paper door of the Master’s room slide open and shut. Slippers shuffled across the concrete to the kitchen. Then I heard the muffled sounds of the Master’s wife talking on the phone. Then quiet.

Slippers shuffled back and their door slid open and shut again. Then quiet. Then the door open and shut again. Then some activity, not really a commotion, but movement and activity in the yard area outside Grandma’s kitchen. I heard a car pull up in front of Grandma’s house, the front metal gate open and close, car doors open and shut, and the sounds of the car driving off.

The quiet of the countryside night soon settled back over the pitch dark of countryside night.

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