The Wait

The Wait

She lies in bed, wondering: what will it be like? The end.

Fran waits, apathetically, hoping the telephone will ring and it will be someone she likes on the other end. Lately, it’s mostly bill collectors’. Or it’s Sylvia, who is desperately lost. Or Maya, who she still has to translate into English.

Earlier that night, Fran watched a Lifetime movie about a woman. She’d had a horrible car accident, and wasn’t able to work anymore. When she died, she was alone. This really struck a deep chord in Fran. That poor woman. The same thing could happen to her, Fran worried.

On nights like this, when no-one calls, Fran looks through her A T & T phonebook at names that sound or resemble an old lover or acquaintance. Fran jots them into a little notebook. She keeps long lists of people’s names, then memorizes them in alphabetical order.


About Robert Vaughan

Originally from NY, Robert leads week long National writing retreats at sites like Mabel Dodge Luhan House, Synergia Ranch, and EarthRise IONS. His poems and fiction are published in over 500 print and online magazines, such as Necessary Fiction, BlazeVOX, Los Angeles Weekly, Literary Orphans and Smokelong Quarterly. He is Editor-in-Chief at (b)OINK magazine and leads round- tables for Redoak Writing in Milwaukee. He is six times a Pushcart Prize Nominee and his fiction and poetry have won awards, including a Micro-Fiction runner-up (2012) and twice a finalist in the Gertrude Stein Fiction Award (2013-14). His books are: Microtones (Cervena Barva Press); Diptychs + Triptychs + Lipsticks + Dipshits (Deadly Chaps); Addicts & Basements (Civil Coping Mechanisms); RIFT, co-authored with Kathy Fish (Unknown Press), and FUNHOUSE (Unknown Press).
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12 Responses to The Wait

  1. Suzi says:

    Disturbing….a glance into the darkness of mental illness or the toll that loneliness takes on the human psyche?

  2. Don says:

    This scared me, but in a brilliant way. Powerful writing, painful to read. The pathos of the soul.

  3. Angela says:

    Obsessive/Compulsive much? Felt some heart-ache for this character until I became critical. 🙂 x@

  4. Andrea says:

    Sad. To spend a life worrying how it will end. Perfect day for this story.

  5. Theo says:

    This is really sad, and feels strange at the end. Is Fran obsessed? Or does her loneliness lead her to behaviors that are slightly strange? Either way, it’s haunting.

  6. david says:

    I am glad Fran is keeping a list of positive aspects… way to go Fran.. keep on keeping on.. poignant

  7. Beverly says:

    I know you like some of your short stories really short, but this one could have gone on longer for me. I wanted to know more about Fran, and her fascination with the names from her past list she keeps. Also, her fear of dying alone, which I think is completely real and ultimately the human plight- we come into life alone, and we leave life the same way. Very provocative writing, Robert.

  8. carolyn says:

    Takes one straight into the emotional despair, you just feel bad for Fran. I know if you have been there once the darkness of loneliness is always waiting.

  9. Dez says:

    Wow. Impressive stuff.

  10. Ian says:

    Why are the friends who do call not good enough for her? Do they remind her of some aspect of herself that she doesn’t like?

  11. theprayerlady says:

    Oh I’m slapp’n the snot right out of ya. What was that. No phone calls, no letters, no foreplay??????????? Geeeeeeeeezzzzzz.
    Love Mom

  12. Tom Froehlich says:

    Wow! Went from sad to creepy! Would love to see you fly with this one!

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