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Exceedingly Small

Updated on April 24, 2021

Standard Practice

The cell phone danced on the desk.
Vin kept it on silent.
He always looked at the incoming number before deciding to answer.

Strange numbers were always answered. Calls from his wife were left to voice mail.

It wasn't always like this

There was a time Vin never missed a call. He lived with his cell phone to his ear.

Since he'd married Hannah, who, unable to find work had little to occupy her, save their son Freddie, she tended to ring him every hour on the hour.

It was nagging, complaining, arguing...she once called him while he was driving to work to complain he'd left the cap off the toothpaste...

His friends, who could have called him at 2 am without complaint had, since his marriage, had fallen into oblivion.

He didn't realise that Hannah needed to own every molecule of his existence. When his friends had called him, if she were present, she'd interrupt, get him into arguments so that he couldn't talk to anyone but her.

To avoid conflict and embarrassment, he didn't answer his cell in her presence. If she wasn't around, he did, and often call them back. But overtime they stopped calling.

Hannah wanted him to herself, she wanted to own him, and it took far too long for Vin to realise it.

A few times...

Years ago, Kyle, who had been his best friend, had called him about a football match. Vin, thinking it concerned the favour he'd been unable to do, because his wife demanded his attention, hadn't answered.

Kyle had used the ticket to take someone else. And forgot about Vin.

Ginny had called to tell him that the sofa he wanted was on sale at a particular store; but Vin hadn't answered. It sold out by the time he checked his voice mail.

Those were his last two contacts outside of Hannah.

He, who once had dozens of friends, now had no one but Hannah.

Voice Mail

Vin glanced at the phone.
The caller was his wife.

He shoved the cell phone into a drawer, got up and went to another section of the building.

No one knew where he was, that was intentional. His work pressure was heavy, he needed cool out time, and he'd get it in the lunch room of the other section which had a friendly crew.

After lunch Vin returned to his desk and the guy in the other cubicle said;

"Mr. Samuels was looking for you..seems important..."

Vin went into Samuel's office.

The Event

"Have a seat," Mr. Samuels said with some gravity.

Vin was going to explain why he hadn't finished the project he was working on and/or visited the site he was requested. But Samuels didn't speak about that.

"Vin, I have some bad news...."

Fired? Was he going to Fire me?

"Your wife..."

What does she have to do with anything?

"Was involved in a motor vehicle accident..."

"What? Where? She wasn't supposed to be out..."

"Your little boy fell down and was injured, so she took him to the hospital..."


"Apparently the car she was in got into an accident..."

"What car?"

"She's at Downstate...I asked Simmonds to take you..."


Vin had no idea where he was. He reached for his cell phone to call...but his cell was in his desk drawer.

The ride seemed an hour but was only twelve minutes. Vin hurried in wildly. After a few minutes of excitement he became coherent enough to be directed to Intensive care.

Before he got near the rooms the doctor was in his face.
His wife and son were dead.

When he could Think

Somehow there was a funeral, somehow he was home holding his wife's possessions. Among them was her cell phone.

Why he bothered to plug it in, why he looked over the history was salt in a wound. His wife had made a number of calls to his cell that day. The last just about the time of the accident.

But his cell phone was still in his drawer at the office.

Guess he'd never have to ignore her calls again.


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