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For the first time in four years, she called. 


We used to stay up. Four, Five, Six. My dad leaving for work, muting the phone as he paused in front of my bedroom door. I'd turn to glass, thinking he would breach my chamber of privacy and enter. A lone drop of sweat would press its way through the skin on my forehead. But he never did walk in. 

“Sorry, I was thinking,” I’d say. 

“You were falling asleep,” she’d probe, phone joyfully pulsing against her soft cheek. 

“No, just thinking."


But why, I thought. Why now? I entered my bedroom, whizzing the door behind. I sat, creasing my neatly pressed bedding. 


I’d stretch one leg from my torrid covers, seeking relief. The other would soon follow. My arms would tire of holding the phone to my ear. My ear would tire of having a phone pressed against it. I’d lay on one side, phone delicately resting on my face to relieve my arms of their obligation. I knew when she was doing the same. The rise of her smile would displace enough cheek to send her phone sliding to the mattress. She would grab and replace it. I’d smile, knowing what had happened.


I let out a sigh and looked at the name once more before sliding the answer bar to green. 


We never argued about who would hang up first. As the morning drew clearer, our voices would soften. We would fade into a duet of mumbled thoughts and a quartet of trying eyelids. The last few minutes of our conversations were exchanges of silence and speculative pleas. 

“Are you asleep?”


“No. Are you?”


The only disagreement we ever had was who would call who the next night.

A debate we did not know could span more than a few lethargic hours.


R. Thomas

S: Her, I, and: Text
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