A woman in her late fifties paced back and forth anxiously in her study hall; a mid-size room decorated in its entirety by a personal library, with hundreds of books laid out in piles, hastily arranged on the floor among several cardboard boxes waiting to be packed. She poured an inch of cognac into a glass and without measure knocked the whole thing in one gulp. It was a desperate attempt to calm her nerves from the incessant ringing produced by a vintage rotary phone on the desk. Its reverberant sound grew louder each time, echoed by tall arched ceilings and a skylight placed strategically at the center of the room. Meanwhile out on the porch, heavy rain and thunder picked up momentum, but would have no lasting effect softening the annoying noise inside that encouraged the obvious tension.
Second thoughts of her actions inundated her as to why she chose to reach out to him, or even leave a phone number she could be reached at. She cursed at herself and pondered further on the situation. Her initial intentions, although commendable, would have served a better purpose if she had calculated her plan, rather than act on an impulse due to a series of raw emotions. The thought of destroying someone's family and the collateral damage it could have on everyone involved, directly or otherwise, were the kind of ideas she spent her evening ruminating on, while also trying to decide if she should finally answer the phone and confront the fears that awaited her.
"Wa...what now?!" Said the woman sternly and out of frustration, knowing very well who the caller could be.
"No…now you listen to me!" Shouted someone angrily into the receiver on the other end, a jumble of words barely came out as he spoke, barely containing his uncontrollable rage.
"You sent me a letter, accusing me of something but you must have mistaken me with someone else. I am not who you think I am. I do not understand how you managed to make those connections, which sound preposterous in nature!" Said the caller furiously, hoping to deter the woman from continuing the attack.
"Listen to me well! I was only a child when I first met you. You would always bring toffees, a detail I still remember quite vividly. Back then, I always thought you were a distant relative. Your visits were often sporadic, as if you were only coming to check that everyone was ok." Said the woman taking a deep breath before continuing to deliver the lines she had rehearsed just in case.
"Now you wait…!" Was all the caller could barely say before being abruptly interrupted again.
"When dad died, I had to go through everything he owned. Being the only executor to his will, it allowed me access to many of the secrets and a past life I could have never known. I dug as deep as the rabbit hole would go and to my surprise, among everything I'd discover, I found a photograph of you!"
"So, you see, there is no denying it. It will be your word against solid proof!" Said the woman. Her hand visibly struggling to hold the phone, trembling from the confrontation she had to endure.
The caller shouted incoherently, a slur of words that changed connotation hoping to express a series of emotions all wrapped into one; absolute panic amid the tension the news quickly provoked.
"I've gone through a lot of trouble. Even months of research trying to find you. I almost lost hope until recently, when irony presented itself. I took it as a sign that my instincts were correct, my actions now validated in my quest." Replied the woman furiously, her eyes shot glances at anything nearby that could channel her anger. Before the caller could say something in return, the woman knew she had to drop the call, and therefore, with a good grip on the cord, she furiously ripped the plug and socket off the wall.