Don't Use the Phone

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Don't Use the Phone

Beatrice Paisley closed her watch and placed it back in her pocket; she had a very busy day ahead of her.

After a brief stretch in the early morning light, she roused herself. She got up from behind the bus-stop bench where she'd made her bed the night before. Meticulously she folded her dirty, worn, red blanket and set it to the side. She then neatly rolled her dingy sleeping bag and tied it with a length of twine. Once both these items were taken care of, she placed them into her dented shopping cart.

The spot chosen was for two reasons. Firstly was for the spigot behind the bench. Beatrice was able to get water whenever she needed it and right now she was able to get a quick drink and wash the sleep from her eyes. The water was cold, but refreshing and her quilted jacket was perfect for drying her face. Once she had completed this simple morning task, she adjusted her clothes and tucked her long, black hair up under her knit cap.

The other reason why this spot was so perfect for Beatrice was the location of the telephone. It was placed at the end of the bench and easily within arms reach, even for her short arms. Each day she would sit vigilantly and wait for the day when the phone would ring. She knew the day was coming soon, and she wanted to be here when it happened.

There was one thing left to do this morning and Beatrice would not be able to do that until she had enough money to go into the restaurant. Though they had facilities, only paying customers were allowed. The morning search was performed of all her pockets: pants, skirt, jacket, shirt. She even removed her shoes in case she had hidden away a dollar or two in them. Sitting on the bench and replacing her shoes, Beatrice knew this was going to be a long day. She'd only managed to locate thirty-five cents and that wasn't even enough to get her a cup of coffee. She remembered the days when thirty-five cents was enough for a light breakfast and have enough left over for a newspaper.

Beatrice got up and rummaged through her cart to see if she could locate any more money. There were times she would hide money from herself for just a situation such as this. She moved aside the blanket and sleeping bag and looked through a small shoe box. Inside were many small coins from other countries, her wedding ring, her late husband's wedding band, and a photo of her husband. She looked at the picture as she did every other day and gave it a kiss. The picture was taken when her husband served in World War II. He had traveled to many countries and always sent her coins from each he visited. Those she left in the bottom of the shoe box along with the rings. The picture had been taken before he left for his final flight, a bombing mission over Berlin. Her husband, Gregory Paisley, never returned home. She also kept that final letter she'd gotten from him.

Since the day of his passing, Beatrice found herself wishing to be dead, but didn't want to upset the good Lord by taking her own life. She knew her husband had gone to heaven and she wanted to make sure she would join him. It took a great many years, but Beatrice's funds dwindled away until she had nothing left. Her parents were gone, she had no brothers, sisters, aunts, or uncles to turn to. Gregory was never able to bless her with a child and she had secluded herself from her friends for so long, that she didn't feel right asking for their help. So here, on this bench, she lived out her life, and waited.

She closed and gently kissed the top of the box and replaced it to her cart. She found an old coffee cup down toward the bottom. It had a small chip on the rim and the once brightly colored flowers were faded and mostly indiscernible, but it would serve as her begging cup all the same. It shamed her to no end to resort to begging, yet if she did not do so, she would starve and the Lord would never forgive her for doing such a thing. With each penny, nickel, dime, quarter, or precious dollar she would get, she was sure to hand out a blessing to each person and wish them a wonderful day. Today would be no different.

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