the phone rings

and you ask the person on the other end to repeat what they just said because it doesn’t make sense and suddenly you are aware of every detail around you and you realize that time has slowed down to let words sink in and you hear yourself asking questions that have answers you don’t want to hear –but that wasn’t the point of the questions, because the point of the questions was to demonstrate to the person on the other end of the phone that they had bad information, and you hear yourself saying that you don’t understand and you are suddenly aware of the fact that blood really can run cold and that air really does have weight and then the conversation feels over but you don’t want to say goodbye because that means the conversation really is over and there will be no more discussion and no more opportunity to somehow untangle what has been said in any other way than what it now is and this can’t be real but you hear yourself say goodbye and you put the phone down and you hear nothing but words bouncing off the inside of your head then suddenly you are asked if everything is ok and you don’t want to answer because if you hear the words you can’t bear to say come from your own mouth, in your own voice, they will be out in the world and you won’t be able to get them back

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Comments (3)

  1. Medea Isphording Bern


    To call this emotion ‘pain’ is akin to calling death a ‘little snooze’. I can touch this.

  2. Reply

    Wow–how perfectly you’ve captured the dread of those calls that will alter our lives irrevocably, the physical sensations, the warring desires both to pretend the call didn’t happen and to prolong the call to avoid the reality that will begin when they’ve ended.

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