Right next to me, the phone rang. It was a model that dated from my childhood. All curved, molded plastic, a curly-que cord, and buttons that glowed when you held the receiver. I took it from my parents’ house when I moved out. No screen. No caller-id. I didn’t need it. I knew it was her.
“Can you hold for a minute, I’m in the middle of something.”
I set the phone face-down on the desk. I got up and walked a lap around the room. I sat back down. I stared. I picked the phone back up. She must have known I was back. She must have heard the sound, the small knock and drag when I lifted the receiver from the desk. She could probably hear my slow breathing. She waited.
“I’d rather spend my time with bees,” I was talking now, like a trickle of water that breaks through the middle of a dam. There was no stopping me. “Thousands of bees, like a cloud with an angry mind. That’s who I would rather spend my time with. That would be a better way to while away an hour. That would hurt less. At least I could expect some sweetness with the sting. Not with you. Don’t call me anymore. I just want to heal.”
She hung up the phone.