Delphia picks up

The telephone rang loudly. Delphia jumped in her seat and almost fudged her embroidery. She struggled with the thought of answering it. Her heart felt brittle since Agent Spiegel had told her that Micky was married. She felt betrayed, duped, and pissed off at herself that she had been so naïve. She hadn’t been able to follow Moira’s rule to take her heart off the table. The telephone finally stopped ringing and Delphia relaxed. She turned back to the bird she was stitching. It was autumnal colors, and matched the leaves changing colors outside her window. The telephone started clanging again.

She hadn’t spoken to Micky since she had talked to Agent Spiegel. He had not come to town and she ignored the one or two telephone calls that had occurred when she was home.

Perhaps I ought to be more stern with him, she thought. He doesn’t even know I’m angry. He doesn’t even know I know. Delphia got to her feet and stomped over to the side table that held the telephone. She had been resolved to answer it and give him a piece of her mind or at least hang up on him, but as she reached for it her hand stopped. The ringing ceased. Delphia paced back across the room and stared out the window. She saw one of the other girls rushing out into a fancy car. The telephone began ringing again. Delphia stormed across the room and grabbed the contraption.

“You SON OF A BITCH!” she cried into it. A tinkling laugh kept her from slamming down the ear piece and ending the call.

“Delphia, what is the matter with you!” Moira exclaimed. “I have never heard you swear like that!” Delphia let out a heavy sigh in response. Before she could speak, Moira chimed in again. “Why don’t I come by and you can tell me all about it? I promise Moira will make it better.”

Delphia agreed. She hung up the telephone, paused and took it off the hook. She wouldn’t be putting up with any other calls today.

A little while later Moira swooped into Delphia’s apartment wearing a new coat. One Delphia remembered Moira admiring in a storefront just the other day. The price tag had been ridiculous in Delphia’s opinion and she wondered why Moira needed a new coat in the first place. She had several already. She did a little twirl for Delphia before she took it off and hung it on the coatrack. She plopped down on the davenport.

“Now tell me what has been bothering you. You’ve seemed rather distant lately. You weren’t at all interested in my story about Arthur the other day.” Moira patted the cushion next to her and Delphia sat down.

“I’ve heard something…from someone…about Micky.” Delphia said. She felt like an idiot. Moira was sure to laugh at her and remind her that love is a game. Moira studied her friend as she stared into the blankness of the room. She took one of Delphia’s hands delicately. Delphia reminded her of a little lamb sometimes.

“Who said what? Was it Myrtle? You know she just says things to get attention. You shouldn’t believe her.”

“No, it wasn’t Myrtle. I don’t want to say who it was, but I know it’s the truth. They had proof.”

“They had proof?” Moira said confused, “About what?” Delphia could barely say his name. She choked on it as she said it.

“Mi-cky has a wife.” She stood up abruptly and went to look out the window. She folded her arms across herself. “I know, you said that stuff about picket fences,” she hiccupped. “I tried, but when I heard I still felt devastated.” Moira came over sympathetically and put her hands on Delphia’s shoulders.

“Oh sweetie, the first time is always the roughest. I had no idea myself.” Moira tried to comfort her. “Perhaps he does have a wife, but she’s out there somewhere. She’s not at the Farm, you know that…unless she’s tied up in the cellar.” Moira tried to joke, but Delphia only grimaced. She tried again.

“Have you talked to him about it? Or where you just planning to call him a son of a bitch instead?” She pulled a handkerchief out of her pocketbook and handed it to Delphia. She took it and dabbed her eyes.

“No, I haven’t bothered to answer the telephone.”

“Well, on the upside, you have this apartment. We could talk to Vera about how she manages unpaid rent. Just in case, you happen to follow through on the name calling, but I think you should look the other way on this one. Maybe you need to get out more on your own. Remember what I said about pining away.”

“It still hurts…” Delphia sunk into her chair and plucked at her embroidery threads.

“A drink will numb it down. Do you have anything here?” Moira got up and started opening cabinets and cupboards.

“No,” Delphia replied as she sniffed again.

“What?” Moira looked over at her surprised. “Girlfriend of a bootlegger and no liquor?”

“He hasn’t even been here since I moved in.”

“Oh dear Lord, girl, you need to get out more then. No wonder you’re a wreck. You’ve been stuck pining away here. You need to stop being such a good girl. He gave you the apartment without explanation, without strings attached. You don’t need to sit around here, waiting for his beck and call. Come on, grab your coat!” Moira swept across the room and donned her coat. She waited patiently by the door while Delphia took hers from the closet. It was another thing Micky had had sent around in his absence. She took a deep breath and put it on. She followed Moira out of the apartment to an unknown destination.



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