answerer

part two in a week-long series all about the rituals of being friends.

she looks at her phone

 

and sees the name flash up.

she would love to answer she would love to talk she would love to

re

connect

but

she is so busy she only has three minutes she has her hands full

with

the potato chips she just dumped on the kitchen floor / the ponytail she's trying to get in / the phone call she has to return from two weeks ago to the gas company about that bill / the gas she needs to get so she can drive to work / the text from her mom she needs to return / the stuff she was supposed to read for her meeting tonight / the book she needs that she left in the car / the keys she can't find

anywhere

and they haven't talked in so long so many months to catch up on so much she needs to wait for a long stretch she needs to block out some time

so

she lets it go to voicemail.

 

three minutes later

she looks at her phone

and sees the name flash again.

same name.

she laughs, knowing that the longest message-leaver on the planet has struck again,

knowing that the voicemail timed out and the longest message-leaver on the planet has called back to finish the message,

knowing that the message will be hilarious, rambling, silly, loving,

knowing there will be no reproach for not returning the last two messages

the ones from last month.

she feels a rush of warmth and wistfulness and sorrow and gratitude and humility that she doesn't have time to tease apart.

she is on the run.

 

one minute later

she looks at her phone

and sees the name flash again.

same name.

and in a matter of seconds she realizes

there is no rambling silly message.

she stops.

she recognizes the code

their s.o.s.

their i need you now ritual

three calls in a row

and she drops it all

everything that was on her plate

everything right down to the plate itself

to answer the phone

and sit patiently with her friend at the edge of the deep, dark well.