Debby takes the sting out of the day by sitting beneath the flowering trees, painting her fingernails, and looking at the men who pass along the street in front of the sloping lawns. Occasionally, she might be distracted by the blast of a traffic horn, or the buzz of a fly, or the insolent shouts of a group of teenagers. But none of this really bothers her very much. She doesn’t have any pressing reason to be interested or intimidated by any of it. A man sat next to her, in this spot, last Friday afternoon. She’d just finished a coat of yellow polish, and was holding her hands up to the sky, and blowing on the nails once or twice. The man said it was a nice shade of yellow. She thanked him, of course – when it comes to manners, she’s very careful. The man said that he really meant it, about the nail polish, and she said she was sure he did. He smiled. She smiled. But she looked away, to where two women were talking loudly about a third person. The third person was also a woman. The talk was office talk. Very boring. The two women noticed her looking, but they didn’t lower their voices. Debby imagined them back at their desks, being sugary to the third person. She began to feel as if she were the third person. When she looked back at the man who liked her nails, he’d walked away. She couldn’t see him anywhere. She tried to recall what he’d been wearing, but couldn’t, and she found it difficult to remember even the expression on his face. All she had left was his voice.

© Barry Lee Thompson and ‘Stories, by Barry Lee Thompson’, 2014

10 thoughts on “Debby

  1. Hi Barry,
    I wrote a comment but then was asked to log on. I don’t have a password for your blog (and I’m sure I don’t need one). I firstly logged onto the ESG blog, and then onto mine, but not yours. So you probably haven’t received my comment. Some time I’ll just go to your blog and not access it through email, which I did on this occasion.
    XX Jenny


    1. Hiya Jenny. I don’t understand why you’re having these issues, but I’ll see if I can get to the bottom of it. Your comment has been lost. I’d like to read it, if you want to send it again. B x


  2. I like this Barry – lots of things going on in a very short story. And the tension of course works so well. I wondered at the end though if ‘all she had left was his voice’ implies something that isn’t really there. Why would she care? – it sounds as if she does for some reason.
    Love the yellow nail polish!
    xx Helen.


  3. I missed this one somehow Barry, I was probably doing my nails. Great story as usual I’m left wanting more, I want to know her occupation and where she was going. I know what you will say when I ask you 🙂


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