September 20, 2020

Peplum Diary: What’s Wrong with This Tall Girl?

Martin picks the pieces from the floor but lingers before turning the screen to reveal the real damage. Her hands remain over her mouth as he holds the device suggestively towards her. The sole crack across the diagonal of the screen sinks her heart and her mind is quiet for what seems an eternity. The other patrons have also joined her in her silence, eyes watching for her next move. Martin turns the phone in his hands and gives it the once over.

“You’re sim card is missing.”

She just stares back, not quite understanding what is going on. The silence in the room compounds the feeling of the ground being pulled from under her feet.

“Is it this one,” a kind lady offers holding up a chip. Martin takes the chip and slips it into the back of the phone.

Expertly, he blows at the battery before installing it and this gives her a desperate hope that all is not lost. He presses on the power button…but nothing happens. Some of the patrons resume their mid-day luxury but a few join the theater of collective misery. Without realizing it Martin has cast himself in the leading role and she has unwittingly become the self-destructive damsel standing perilously close behind him, peering over his shoulder at the plot device.

She holds her breath and whispers a silent prayer which is answered in short order. The screen bursts alive with light then the damned device vibrates heartily.


It escapes her and carries her joy across the eatery. A few people respond in smiles and shrugs but she could care less. All hope is not lost.

“You need to charge it…”

“I’ll do that in the office. Let’s go.”

Martin gives her the phone just as it begins to vibrate again. A bolt of fear runs down her spine as she looks worriedly at her male companion. He smiles and places a warm hand on her back. “Charger,” he simply says as he ushers her out.

Back at the office, she plugs the phone for a quick charge, intent on calling him back.

“Just give it ten minutes then turn it on.”

“Thanks. I thought it was dead.”

“I’m surprised it isn’t. That phone should be in a million pieces right now.”

“My phone is special…”

“No, it’s unlucky. If someone threw me down like that…”

“I didn’t mean to!”

“Ok, whatever you say…”

“It’s not like that. He called”

“Who? Mystery man?”

“Shhhh….” She’s suddenly aware how loudly they have been talking. Martin looks over his shoulder at the interns.

They’ve developed a habit of looking outside the window after having their lunch.

“You want everyone to know?”

He smiles at her and walks to his desk. She looks at her phone, a crack ruining the sleek design. ‘Why does life have to be so cruel?’ The urge to turn it on and call him surfaces but she restrains herself. ‘Ten minutes’.

She turns on the computer and as she waits for it to boot her gaze is turned towards the interns at the window. The two young men often seem out of place and can rarely be found too far apart. She’s been nursing the quiet suspicion that this was a desperate mission for them and if they had not landed here they would have been in a classroom somewhere chatting up a girl for her number only to never call. But the young lady, Kate, was different. That tall, fresh faced twenty something year old felt like she knew what she wanted. First in and last of the interns out, there was a sense of focus about her.

She almost never complained except about her height and this was probably because the boys were slightly intimidated by her. They never said it of course but they weren’t exactly bright about hiding it. They reserved their advances for the ladies more or less their height, usually less. So Kate was more their workmate that that tall girl in a skirt, and she didn’t mind that. At least that was the impression everyone got.

She looks down at the cracked screen again. ‘How long is ten minutes?’

Knowing she cannot will time to fly by, she decides to do something more constructive. She stands and walks towards the interns. As soon as they sense her approach, the young men scamper, feigning an excuse or the other to not be by the window anymore. Kate stays behind, looking down to the crowded street below.

“Is everything alright?”

“Yeah, just fine,” the intern responds, sounding depleted. She swallows hard because she has a feeling she’s responsible for the low spirits.

“I just want to say I’m sorry about earlier.”

“It’s ok.”

“You’re sure?”

“Yeah. It’s cool.”

She looks at the young lady and can feel something’s not right. But she doesn’t know where to begin so she stands and stares out of the window.

“Can I ask you something?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Is there something wrong with me?”

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