The rain is pouring down hard today. The clock says 8:32 PM as I arrive home. I look around our littered flat and breathe deeply. Tomorrow I shall clean this mess, tomorrow I shall clean this mess. I always remind myself but too often do I forget.
I skip through the scattered t-shirts, socks, left-over takeouts from the Chinese store a few blocks away, and some CDs piled on the floor. The answering machine blinks red; I ignore it. I open the door to our room and fling my bag to the right side of the bed. Somehow our room stays clean, no matter how messy the other parts of our home are.
I lie on the bed for awhile and look at the ceiling. It’s your turn to get some food tonight. I’m tired and I want to rest, but something tells me not to. I don’t know what. Something just feels odd.
I wait for the clock to get its slow minute-hand on the number 12. You come home by nine. My stomach grumbles with lack of food. I need to eat, but I await your return and with you, some good food.
Time sure is slow, I muse. The pitter-patter of the rain on the window is only a low rhythm in the background, and I let it surround me. Rain mellows me down to some extent. Somehow, whenever it rains, it feels as though God feels the need to cry.
9:10 PM. Where are you? You’re never late.
9:30 PM. I pick my cellphone and dial your number even though I have it on speed dial. You always say that I do that when I feel irritated or worried or any of those weird emotions. I wait for you to answer the call but all I hear is the recorded message of a woman that says your phone is either unattended or out of coverage. I mutter a curse and dial your number again, with the same results.
9:50 PM. I am standing in front of the window of our living room. The rain is still pouring hard, so maybe you can’t leave early. But you know you should call. It’s making me worried.
10:15 PM. The pouring rain is now only a drizzle. I am standing outside with an umbrella. Where are you? You haven’t called. I’ve tried calling you millions of times but your phone is unattended.
Where are you?
8:32 AM. The sunlight from the windows hits my eyes. I wince and blink, then open my eyes. My neck hurts from sleeping in a weird position. I’m not used to sleeping on the couch, but I’m waiting for you. It’s already morning. Where are you?
I look at my cellphone once again, sure that by now you probably have called. No missed calls. No messages. Nothing. I take a deep breath and close my eyes.
This isn’t it.
I open my phone and look for your friends’ names. I call them one by one, asking if they’ve heard from you last night. They haven’t. They ALL haven’t.
I take a deep breath and look around. Nothing’s out of place. Everything’s right where it should be. All of my things are here.
I look around with only one thing on my mind: this can’t be it. This isn’t it. Everything’s the same, nothing’s changed. I look for some sign, any sign at all. Nothing. My lips quiver slightly. I shake my head in disgust; nothing’s wrong, so why am I breaking down? You just didn’t call last night, what’s the big deal? I’ve done it before, so there’s nothing to worry about.
My heart is beating so fast I can’t seem to make sense of anything. Nothing’s wrong. Nothing’s wrong. Everything’s as it should be.
Then I see it. Out of the corner of my eye, the blinking red dot on the answering machine.
My eyes inexplicably fills. I don’t know why, but I’m scared. I have this ill feeling in my gut that the blinking red dot has the answer to my every question. But I don’t want those questions to be answered. I’m okay with what we are now.
Everything’s going so well…
As I approach the telephone, tears fall. I order my hands to wipe those away but they won’t respond to my plea; instead, my hands reach out for the telephone.
This isn’t it. Please…this isn’t it.
My hands are shaking as I press the button. I hear the machine’s automated voice announce one new message.
And then I hear your voice…
-Fourth Lovephase story. This one is different from the first three, since it doesn’t focus on the love, but rather the ‘ever after’ that comes with love.