Warning: This work has been rated 16+ for language.
The phone rang.
She flew down the steps of her apartment, clumsily yanking her arm through the second hole of her hydrophobic overcoat. Her coat was winter green with trimming that roughly resembled a doily. She wore it despite the forecast because of her perpetual anticipation of rain, and acute distrust of weathermen. Once she stood outside the small brick building, she returned the phone to her ear.
“Okay, talk now.” She said, retrieving a cigarette she’d left in the space between two bricks. She lifted it to her mouth.
“Mhmm.” She said, cigarette perched carefully between her chapped lips. She searched her cavernous pockets for a lighter. Once she found one, she lit it and inhaled comfortably. She exhaled stress.
Unburdened, and now laughing, she responded, “Oh really? You expect me to believe that?” She adjusted her casket hat so it sat perfectly imperfect on her head. Laughing still, she talked without reverence about her day. She spoke flippantly; knowing her caller didn't care about the content of her conversation so much as hearing her.
“What about you? What are you up to?” She knew what the caller would say. He always answered this question the same. Listening intently. Perched against his place of employment, or his girlfriend’s apartment in upstate New York. But she asked because she had nothing else to say.
“Really? Tell me more.” She walks down the street. She listens and laughs. “No! You have to. I beseech you.” She thought about how trite it all was, and felt like an idiot. Every telecommunicated conversation became irrelevant and circular. Its only purpose being to establish a connection beyond the screen. It lacked the kind of importance she desperately sought.
“Yes, you heard me correctly. I didjust say beseech.” She pauses. “What? I’m reading the Taming of the Shrew actually, and Shakespeare is fucking brilliant slash obsessed with the word beseech.” She’s walking directly in the middle of the street now, within the yellow lines that divide it. Maybe she should acknowledge the unspoken. Maybe if he and she had a conversation beyond their comfort zone, the caller would fall further into the rabbit hole of their undefined relationship. Rendering him incapable of escaping. Confirming her suspicion that he cared.
She laughs again. “Whatever, you’re full of shit.” She stops walking. Now she’s standing in the middle of the street, biting her nails. “Uh-huh.” She shrugs. Her enthusiasm begins to deflate. She drops her cigarette on the ground and doesn’t bother to snub it.
“Weird. I miss you too.”
Can he hear me smiling? She thinks.
“Alright, go ahead. Hang up now.” The caller’s line is suddenly silent. She relocates her phone to one of the cavernous pockets in her ugly green coat, remaining otherwise motionless. And bites her nails until they bleed. She turns to walk toward her apartment building, but the turn is is disjointed. Her eyes are distant and her thoughts are of him. The caller.
She slips another cigarette in the space between two bricks of her apartment wall. She drags herself up the stairs, her eyes swollen with tears.
She asks herself innumerable questions without answers.
Like, how the caller can say he misses her when the two of them know he’ll fuck his girlfriend just a few hours from thence? She laughs again, wishing (as she typically does) the phone would ring once more.