Snakes and Pills

129 - chest

Surely, it was a mistake.

Eric held his phone in his hand as it vibrated and played his ringtone. Her name was on the caller ID. He had not seen her name in a long time, but he thought about it more than he liked to admit.

The phone would definitely stop ringing soon. She would realize her mistake, that she had hit the wrong name in her phone's list of contacts. She wasn't really calling him. Eric had to admit that this was the truth, but he could find some solace in the fact that his number was still in her phone at all.

Yet the phone kept shaking in his hand. Maybe, it wasn't a mistake after all. In an instant, he let his imagination run the gamut of possibilities. Had she changed her mind? Or maybe she just felt guilty for leaving him in the state she did. There might be an emergency, and he was the only one she could reach out to.


He had hesitated enough. Eric slid his finger across the screen and answered the call. Tentatively, he asked: "Hello?"

The sound coming back from the other end gave Eric his answer. Her phone must have been in her bag, and somehow, through some cruel twist of fate, it had called him by itself while being jostled around. His heart sank.

He could hear voices. He couldn't clearly make out her voice, but there were definitely several girls talking, and they were speaking in English. He wondered, did that mean she was back from Germany?

She shouldn't have been back already, so he considered that maybe she was just hanging out with a group of other American exchange students. If she really were calling from Germany, this accidental call would be costing her a fortune. He knew he should just hang up, but he couldn't bring himself to do it.

Eric then heard something that he was very familiar with. Door chimes and an accompanying announcement. She was on the PATH train, at Hoboken Terminal if he had heard correctly. Compared to where he had thought she was, it suddenly felt like she was so close, like he could reach out and touch her if he wanted to.

He wanted to.

Then, there was a sudden increase in the sounds coming across the line, like the phone was being moved around a lot more. One last time, Eric called out, "Hello?" but no response came. A short series of beeps told him that the call had ended.

Dumbfounded, Eric just stared at the phone in his hand. Would she realize what had happened? Would she apologize? Would she call him back? Why the hell is she back in the States already, anyway? So many questions were swimming in his head, which had been relatively focused and clear in the moments before this unanticipated phone call.

He fought the urge to do anything about it, but he knew it was inevitable, and he figured that the longer he waited, the more awkward it would seem. He opened up the messages on his phone and started composing a new one to her. "Hey, you just called me. Everything OK?" it read. He hit send.

Eric did not have to wait long for her reply. "Everything is fine. Sorry. Accident. Have a good day." Have a good day. He was having one, before this all happened.

He debated whether or not to reply. There was so much he wanted to say and ask, but it seemed obvious that she still didn't want to talk to him. He couldn't understand it, but that's the kind of person she had always been.

Staring at the conversation, he couldn't help but get the last word. "K. Thanks. You too." Again, he hit send. Then, he deleted the entire conversation. He expected no reply.


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