I begin the day by feeling okay for a change so at 3.00 I call her to leave a happy voice mail message because I want to share my positive vibe. I know I’m going to get her voice mail because not once the entire summer has she answered the phone when I called her at work and I’ve become skilled at putting out of my mind the fact that I’m being actively ignored.
Only for the first time in a summer she does decide to answer; I’m taken aback and somewhat pleasantly surprised, and as I try to recover, she asks if she can call me back “in ten minutes.”
“Okay,” I say happily, mulling once more over the nice thing I was going to say and wondering whether I should say it in live conversation or save it for some other time.
I set the phone down and read some email.
I wait ten minutes.
I wait twenty minutes.
I stop reading email, realizing uneasily that I’ve left myself unprotected once again.
I wait thirty minutes.
I wait forty minutes.
Finally, I call her back. The sense of deja vu is not just apropos, it’s stifling. She doesn’t say whether she’s forgotten me or not this time, only asks yet again if she can call me back, more than a hint of annoyance in her voice. I just say okay and hang up, only now I’m annoyed, too, and flustered, because now I don’t really want to talk or know what to say. When she calls back we only manage to talk for a moment (two sentences, really) because I’m unresponsive and vexed and of course she doesn’t have the slightest interest in pressing me about why. After we hang up, the afternoon suddenly feels oppressive and horrible, rather than auspicious and light as it had an hour earlier.
Three hours later or so I’ve recovered, thanks to hours on the phone with good friends, and am feeling okay when she calls me unexpectedly. After an almost immediate “I have to go, I’ll call you back” yet again, then eventually a few minutes of detached, self-conscious banter between us, during which it never seems the right moment to say what I’d wanted to say earlier, she abruptly tells me that she’s hanging up but will call me back “in a couple of hours.”
Not the sort of thing that should upset me at all, only now it’s late in the day and once again I know the score too well. But I just say “okay” and go.
It’s four hours later, naturally, when ringing wakes me up from a disappointed sleep and sends me scrambling for the phone. “I’m going to bed now, okay?” is all that I hear on the other end — no greeting, no goodbye, and no time for a word from me before the click of the phone hanging up. Like a lamb to the slaughter, I try to call her ten or twelve times over the next half hour, having no idea what I’d actually say if she answered. Maybe we got disconnected because she’s on a moving bus, so maybe her phone is off-network. Maybe it’s on silent (though I have to be careful not to think about why anyone on a rock and roll tour puts their phone on silent). Maybe she’s so tired that she doesn’t hear it ringing (yet another thing not to think about too deeply).
Maybe, maybe, maybe. It feels like I play the maybe game every single fucking night. In any case, I was fairly certain that there wouldn’t be an answer as I repeatedly rang back in frustration. And there wasn’t. And tomorrow she’ll say, without quite making an accusation, “um, my phone says you called me like a dozen times.”
So now I’m awake and alone in the dark as I pound out nonsense on a worthless blog that I’ve tried unsuccessfully to kill a hundred times. I suppose I’ll smoke a clove and watch television and be. If I bring any of this up later, it’ll start a massive fight. Hell, this post is going to start a massive fight. She’ll say that I always “put her through hell” and that I’m not understanding. I’d rather have just left my fucking message in the first place. It was going to be a nice fucking message. 🙁
One pop definition of “insanity” is “doing the same thing over and over, yet hoping for a different result.” If today was just a one-off, it wouldn’t be a big deal at all; I’d just chalk it up to happenstance. But it’s two fucking summers worth of this very thing. It was hard enough to get along when we were reunited after the first summer of it.