subliminal salvation by phoenix.writing

9 May

Felicia could barely believe her ears.  Her mother had just told her that she was getting married again, married to the mailman of all people, and she thought that Felicia was overreacting when she suggested that maybe she should calm down and think about this rather than jumping off the top of the cliff without looking to see what was at the bottom.

Honestly, that was only common sense, and she couldn’t imagine how her mother had been left with the impression that Felicia would think this was the most exciting news ever.

Felicia couldn’t wait to escape up to her old room.  She immediately called Sophie.  Sophie would commiserate properly with Felicia’s predicament, could be counted on to come up with some foolproof methods of sabotage, and would ensure that Felicia didn’t have a mental breakdown.

She could have cried with relief when the phone was answered on the second ring.


“I’m having a small mental breakdown.”

“Felicia? Felicia Bannerman?”

Felicia froze.  Having a small mental breakdown in reality, apparently, because she’d dialled someone who clearly wasn’t Sophie but who knew who she was.  The voice sounded familiar, but for the life of her, Felicia didn’t have the slightest idea who it was.

“Yes.  Do you … have a minute?”

“Of course, sweetie.  What’s the matter?”

“I just thought I’d, uh, see how you were doing.  It’s been a while, right?”

“Nearly a year, I should think, but you said you were calling because you were having a small mental breakdown.”

“Oh, you know me.”  Apparently.  “Prone to exaggeration.  So how’s the family?”

“Doing well, but that’s still not why you called.”

There was really nothing for it at this point.

“My mom wants to get remarried.  To the mailman.”

There was a huff of laughter.  “And you thought you’d call me?  I’ll have you know that Tom has to travel a lot for business but he is not a travelling salesman no matter what some people might have to say about the matter.  And we certainly haven’t decided to tie the knot.  You’re not hearing rumours about that, are you?”

Felicia wished she’d been hearing rumours because there would probably be names attached and she might have some idea of who the hell she was talking to.

“No, no rumours about you getting married.”

“That’s a relief.  Tom’s really great, but neither of us wants to rush into anything.  I definitely don’t want to scare him off with a marriage-crazed neighbourhood; I come with enough baggage as it is.”

Bad break-ups, bad home life, new man….  Felicia was scanning through everyone she could think of, and she was still coming up empty.

“Don’t sell yourself short.  I’m sure you and this Tom can be very happy together.”

Not that support from an idiot who couldn’t dial the phone properly was any great accolade.

“Thanks, Felicia.  Did you want to say hello to Julia?”

“Julia?”  The pieces of the puzzle snapped into place.  Jesus Christ, she’d phoned Samantha Francis.  “Yeah, that would be great if she’s around.”

There was a moment of silence.  “You didn’t have the slightest idea who I was, did you?”

Face flaming and certain that the woman who’d allowed her to take care of her child for years knew it, Felicia confessed, “I’m an idiot, sorry.”

Samantha laughed.  “Not to worry, Felicia.  I did think it a little odd that you were calling to talk to me about your mother’s remarriage.  Shall I let you get on with the correct call?”

Everything that had just been said was resorting in her brain now that Felicia knew who she was speaking to.

“Hold on.  You have a man, and I haven’t heard a thing about it.  Start talking.”

“I thought you were having a mental breakdown.”

“Being staved off by juicy details.  What does Julia think of the travelling businessman?”

Hearing the smile in the other woman’s voice as she began to talk about Tom, Felicia reflected that perhaps her misdial hadn’t been such a bad thing after all.  They’d lost touch after the divorce, but Felicia had spent years doing her homework on the Francis’s couch as she looked after Julia.

She’d watched their marriage fall apart, and it was a long time since she’d heard the other woman sound this happy.  It felt different when it was her own mother who was contemplating such a drastic step, but just remembering the atmosphere in that household before they had finally divorced, Felicia knew that the only important thing was that those involved were happy.

She’d have to meet this … Hammond, and as long as he made her mother happy, Felicia would forgive that bit about him being the mailman.


Link to Sam and Julia: The Uses of Math.

Link to Hammond: Habits and Hiding.

Link to Sophie: Bills, Books, and Blue Eyes.

4 Responses to “subliminal salvation by phoenix.writing”

  1. ingridfnl May 9, 2010 at 9:13 pm #

    Wonderful links to the other stories. I really felt the awkwardness of the phone call and the sense of revelation at the end. 🙂

  2. juleshg May 10, 2010 at 1:37 am #

    You did a wonderful job pulling so many stories together.

    “Not that support from an idiot who couldn’t dial the phone properly was any great accolade” was a fabulous line!

  3. jmforceton May 10, 2010 at 3:54 pm #

    Excellent job creating a serendipitous phone call. All’s well that ends well.

    Worse than these problem phone calls, is meeting someone face to face who knows you and you can’t place them.


  1. infinite possibilities by phoenix.writing | the character project - May 16, 2010

    […] subliminal salvation by phoenix.writing […]

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