You called the other day. I was about to go into a meeting. I almost answered anyway, but it didn’t seem worth it. You’d just guilt me for having to hang up right away. You left a message saying you’re sorry you’re a bad friend. I think the thing to say was happy belated birthday, but that would have been about me. I call you back a couple days later. I left a message saying I love you and call me back. You call me back some other time. You don’t leave a message. Now, I’m rehashing this to your voicemail, because again, you haven’t answered you phone, and I’m wondering why you can’t just text like a fucking normal person. But I suppose phone calls are more intimate. They are more challenging at any rate. It is just hard because we have different lives now. I think that’s why I keep waiting so long to call you back. I don’t know what I am supposed to tell you about my life or what I’m supposed to understand about yours. We used to be in sync but how long ago was that? That was easily two moves ago, several men ago, a couple minor substance abuse issues that were probably more substantial than we’d like to acknowledge so let’s just call it minor and be done with it. I am worried I am a different person now. I’m worried you know it. I am thinking this is why we don’t talk as much. But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe it’s fine. Maybe we don’t need the people we used to be to sustain this relationship. Maybe I’ll see you in a few years when I get back for a visit. We both know you’d never visit me. If we are face to face, I’m sure we’d rally and be us about it. It would feel as good as ever to hug you and to hear you tell me I’m too loud when I get drunk and to tell you to fuck off and that you love me.
That’s why when you call today, I pick up. Neither of us have anything to say, which is probably a signal of all the things we have to say. We just can’t. In this moment, that’s ok. We’re doing the best we can. You tell me you lost your job because you were drinking and stealing booze. I say that’s hard. I say I understand. That’s not what I am thinking, but I don’t know how to ask if you are ok in a way you’ll answer honestly over the phone. So I act like this is ok. You do too, when I don’t talk about how I am not ok either. We talk about people we know because it seems like they haven’t changed as much as we have. I tell you about the guy I broke up with. We laugh at him. We would have laughed at him even if he hadn’t dumped me.
We get off the call talking about how we’ll try to talk more, how we miss each other, how no one else is on our level. You say you never know when I am free, when to call. I say just call, and if I don’t answer, leave a message. Duh, you say. We know you won’t call. We know I won’t call either. We’ll want to though, and that still counts. Love you, bye.
Megan Cannella (@megancannella) is a Midwestern transplant currently living in Nevada. For over a decade, Megan has bounced between working at a call center, grad school, and teaching. She has work in or forthcoming from Versification, The Daily Drunk, (mac)ro(mic), Taco Bell Quarterly, and Schuylkill Valley Journal.
image: Lindsay Hargrave