I am tossing and turning, flitting through dreams, some entertained in a happy landscape, others notsomuch. I’m hot and then cold. Technically I am asleep but I feel myself being very aware of every time I kick the covers away and conversely every time I get cold. I feel when I brush my hair away from my face, when I clutch my pillow and burrow deeper in the sheets. Somewhere on the edge of consciousness, another dream begins.
I’m in bed, this bed, fast asleep when the phone rings, the ringer mistakenly up high, sqwaking a ringtone I haven’t heard in many moons. I’m snatched from sleep. I contemplate not answering for a minute but it’s so late or early, depending on which side of the moon you regularly consult with, and I am naturally prone to worry. I fumble in the dark and flip the phone open.
“Yeah what’s up KB?”
“I know you’re sleeping and I’m sorry to wake you-“
“Then why did you?”
“We need to talk.”
I sit up straight, bracing myself for whatever follows, knowing that nothing that comes after “we need to talk” is ever good. I try and corrale my senses.
“What’s up?” He pauses, and in the silence I hear his mind whirring and clicking, synapses firing, trying to fit together his words in such a way that this can somehow be a logical conversation between two adults and not a forray into 10th grade delusions of grandure. My heart rate speeds up just a bit.
“How have you been?”
“Cut the bullshit. You didn’t call me at 4am to ask me how I been KB.”
In the silence that follows I feel his resentment settling in and suddenly the air in the room goes cold.
“So you’re seeing someone?”
“Why do you ask?”
“Mad Max said he saw you in a hotel bar around Galleria a couple weeks ago. With-” he chokes on his words, “someone.”Despite myself I smile at his discomfort, and shake my head at how naiive I can be when I want to be.
“Yes. I’m seeing someone.”
“Mmm, I dunno. Awhile, not too long, not long enough, forever and a day. Does it matter?”
“I just didn’t know.”
“I wasn’t aware I was supposed to send you a press release.”
“I guess I really didn’t have to worry about dude I saw you with awhile ago.”
“Honey he was GAY.”
“Oh.” That only temporarily slows his roll. “So you lied.”
“About what KB?” punctuating my question with his name, a habit of mine I employ to notify the listener of just how absurd this conversation is to me.
“You were ready to date.”
“KB do you realize I met you damn near NINE MONTHS ago?”
He takes pause because he hasn’t done the math. I hear him calculating in his head, more click and whirs that tell me that this is an impulsive call, born purely of ego and emotion.
The worst kind.
“Honey,” I take a deep breath and try to even out my tone,” why are you upset?”
“I just can’t believe… I… I just didn’t know…” he trails off.
“Well, now you know.”
“I mean… THAT’S who you date instead of me?”
“I’m happy. Can it be about that please?”
“You have GOT to be fucking kidding me.”
For the next 10 minutes or so he rants and raves of all the things we coulda been, shoulda been, laments this choice I’ve made, until he tires himself out into silence.
“You feel better now?” I ask him, not a drop of anger or maliciousness in my voice. Mostly just exhaustion at the weight of my choices, sadness at this being an issue.
“No actually. I don’t.”
“Well good. Me either. I need to go back to sleep dear.”
“Ok. I’ll call you later.”
I hang up the phone softly and put it on silent. As I slide back under the covers, I feel myself falling.
I snatch awake, the darkness still quiet around me, the dog snoring contentedly in the corner. Honey raises her head for just a second to look at me curiously, wondering why I’m awake. She decides she doesn’t care, rolls over and within seconds is snoring again. I laugh at myself. I am so extra sometimes. I lay back down, curling around my pillow like I’m holding someone, pulling the covers up to my chin and close my eyes. My breathing starts to deepen and I feel myself drifting.
Then the phone rings.
I snatch it up, incredulous at the caller ID.
“We need to talk.”