“Hello?” I said.
I didn’t know the voice right away. I was too busy watching the kids in the next room over. I just put up the train set and I didn’t want them screwing with it. I had my hands tied. But then I knew. I didn’t move. I let the voice struggle for a minute more.
“Darren, come on, I know that’s you.” It was precious. But it was connected to a fire I could not put out. I didn’t have the strength left.
The kids were climbing on the coffee table now. I had an open beer out. I always had an open beer out. I didn’t want them knocking it on the train set. I wasn’t about to go through all that again. They didn’t care that I was on the phone.
“Say something, please.”
I said a lot in my life but I didn’t know what to say now.
The voice got softer. “I love you, Darren. You know I do. How are the kids?”
I watched them throw the dog’s stuffed toy around. It landed on the tracks. The dog was oblivious. I wondered if he would maybe want some of the beer.
Soon I would not remember this age. Neither would anyone.
“There’s no one here by that name,” I said.
The kids laughed.
Kevin Richard White has a Twitter on the Internet at @misterkrw.