Scary Dialogue

I’d been writing for a while before I realised that I’d been avoiding dialogue and that was because it scared me. I suggested an exercise at my creative writing group that was all dialogue so I couldn’t escape it and I actually enjoyed it. I now find dialogue a lot less daunting but still don’t use it as often as I should.

The Telephone Call

“Hi Dad, it’s Neil.”

“Hello son, I’ll get your Mum.”

“Wait a sec, can’t we …”

Too late as I hear the thud of the receiver on the telephone table and there’s a pause as he shuffles from the hall into the sitting room to fetch Mum. I fiddle with the phone cord then notice my palms are sweating so wipe them dry on my jeans.

“Neil, darling, how are you?”

“Fine, Mum, I need to speak to…”

“Did you hear about Mildred next door? You know Sparky, her Jack Russell? Remember he bit you when you were twelve? Well, he’s taken to sleeping at the bottom of the stairs and she tripped over him in the middle of the night. She broke her leg and is hobbling around on crutches. Bad break by all accounts and she’s complaining terribly of the pain.”

“No I hadn’t heard. Mum, I need to tell you…”

“What about Joan and Norman’s daughter Chloe getting into university? Durham they said. That’s up near you isn’t it?”

“Not really. I’m in Manchester about 100 miles away.”

“Silly me! I never was any good at geography, especially nowhere “oop north”. What a shame you’re not closer to each other. You always got on so well as children. Chloe has just split up with her boyfriend, you know. Of course, a pretty girl like that will get snapped up again in no time. She’s always had a lot of admirers. When are you coming home again?”

“Not until Christmas, I told you that last time we spoke.”

“Such a pity. She’ll probably have found another boyfriend by then.”

“Mum, there’s something …”

“I’m sure it was Durham or was it York? I always get the two mixed up because of the Vikings. Is York closer to you?”

“Yes, Mum, but I have something important to tell you.”

“What’s that, dear?”

Now’s my moment so I take a deep breath.

“You know how much you love those Doris Day and Rock Hudson films and were really sad when he died?”

“Yes dear, but what’s …”

“Well, you know how surprised you were when you found out he was gay but that didn’t stop you enjoying his films?”

“I couldn’t believe it! What a waste of a handsome man.”

“Well, the reason Chloe and I never got together is because I’m gay too.”

There’s a pause and a muffled thump which I hope is Mum sitting down on the stairs.

“You’re gay?”

“Yes, Mum.”

“Like Rock Hudson?”

“Yes, Mum.”

“How long have you been, you know…?”

“I think I’ve always known.”

She whispers, “Did you used to dress up in my clothes?”

“Mum, I’m gay not a drag queen!”

“I don’t know! This is all a big shock to me.”

“Sorry Mum. But no, I didn’t dress up in your clothes or wear your makeup.”

“I need some time to get used to this, Neil, but I’m glad you told me. Why did you decide to tell me now?”

“Well, I’ve met someone. It’s early days but I think it could be serious so I don’t want to pretend to be something I’m not anymore.”

“I need a cup of tea so I’ll pass you over to your Dad. Bye, love.”

I wasn’t expecting this and am frozen like a rabbit caught in the headlights.

“Hello son. Your Mum says you want to tell me something?”

“She didn’t tell you?”

“Tell me what?”

I take a deep breath. “Dad, I’m gay.”

“Well, I knew that. Your Mum may not notice what goes on under her own nose, but I do. This friend of yours, will you be bringing him home for Christmas?”

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6 thoughts on “Scary Dialogue

  1. marie flux says:

    I really enjoyed that! I was genuinely interested in what he was trying to tell his parents, and enjoyed his Mum’s bits of news,and his Dad’s response!

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