I just received a call from an old friend at work. I stopped seeing him six months ago when I accepted another job out of state. He was a much needed confidante when I needed a shoulder to lean on, and I thought of him often that first month or two. We even called each other once or twice, although I did most of the talking, describing my new scenery.
Anyway, he told me he loved me. He was stuttering a lot. For the first time, I did most of the listening, sitting under the dark veranda on my porch. A lizard skittered by my feet. I put my hand to my mouth, trying to feel something—anything— for him in return. I could not. He ended the conversation very politely, but a little too quickly. I knew his feelings were hurt.
I decided to stay in that night. I sat down at the kitchen table and leafed through the updated phone book that arrived yesterday and thought about how much I needed it when I arrived here—at least until my computer arrived almost a week later. I willed him to discover its power as well.