It’s That Time of the Evening Folks

The person on the other end of the phone isn’t picking up because they are trying to kill you.

And you deserve it, you really do.

You stand at a phone booth in the waiting room where everyone gets what they want, and you want. But unlike the others, you want from a distance. Not in line with the rest, not quite enough in your wallet to pay the fees, so you phone a friend and hope for a little kindness.

But you don’t deserve it, and it’s really that simple.

So all you have is wants and a phone number. A plan. But the plan falls through, because digits scrawled on the back of a ticket stub will never give you what you are so desperate for. But you keep it around anyway.

You tuck it into the hiding space between your second-hand mattress and your cheap bed frame.  You keep it safe because you want so badly for everything to have been worth it.

Then one day you realize that this useless string of numbers is you. It’s you in the slashes through zeros, and sharp-edged sevens. You in the unanswered calls. This slip of paper is not a plan, it is a last-ditch attempt to prove that you can be saved. But voicemails and dial tones tell you what you already know. You have spent years running away from the only thing that you wanted and now it’s too late.

Now I need you to pretend that it isn’t. I need you to call now and pretend that it’s yesterday, or the day before, or the day before that. That this time they pick up on the third ring instead of letting it go straight to voicemail. We are younger, you and I.

Now let me tell you something, you don’t want to hear. Next time you should stop yourself before you call a number that is no longer in service. You can call new numbers and find new waiting rooms, but it’s time you learned that there is nothing in that house you used to live in. And you can dream and want and peak through the windows of that old building, but it was decided long before you were born, at a phone booth in a waiting room, that yours would be a short lived reign.

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