When the phone actually rings, we look at each other in surprise.
It is a foreign sound at first and then gradually, the connection is made
and surprise turns to disgust.
It is Friday night. We have a carved pumpkin in the window
and a classic on the television. It is two days before Halloween in the city.
Who is this? you say. Who is this?
Showing me the number.
I shrug and tell you to leave it.
And then I remember the way you remember a song
you haven’t heard in years. A song that belonged to a life you no longer live.
It’s my doctor. But by then, he’s already stopped calling.
You ask me why the doctor is calling so late.
You sound frustrated, tired, and now, a little scared.
I call the doctor back but he doesn’t answer.
He just leaves a message about calling him Monday.
His voice burns inside me.
I sit back down on the couch and we don’t speak for some time.
What’s wrong? you ask me.
It’s fine, you say. Doctor’s don’t call with bad news and then tell you
to call them back on Monday.
I nod. But I don’t believe you.
Already there is a division between us.
This experience, that will change us, has started.
You, as observer.
Me, as recipient.
This is what I think on Friday night.
Monday morning will be different, and I will laugh to myself
but also whisper a thank you, quickly, so no one sees
a breath of relief.
Still, right now there is nothing but the hours
from this moment, on the couch to Monday morning,
Hours I usually savor, beg for, kill for.
Hours that we have plans for, look forward to.
Hours that I now hate.
20 hours ago