Work in Progress, or WIP, posts are excerpts from open writing projects. All writing is my own and in the rough draft phase. Take it (but don’t actually take it, copyright me and all that) for what it is!
For more on The Phone Call see previous posts 1 and 2. I have been working on this piece a lot recently and will talk about it more in an upcoming post as it’s not unfolding as I wish it would. But here is an excerpt from a recent sitting!
“Do you have any ideas for names?”
“Traditionally, I believe it’s the mother and father’s job to pick the baby’s name…” I sass him.
“I wanna know what you think.”
“I’ve never been the girl to name her kids before she has them. My sister talked about these things when we were growing up, like Emma. I don’t know if she ever had a boy name. Will you be the guy who names his kid his name? Will we have a little junior on our hands?”
“No, probably not. I think an Irish name would be good.”
“No arguments here. I love me some Irish names. You’ll have to get yourself one of those baby name books.”
A chuckle: “Yeah, that’s exactly what I thought I’d be reading next.”
Silent contemplation seems like the best response on that one.
“No matter how many times I’ve called you or in whatever situation, you always seem to know something to say to help me.”
“If it makes you feel any better, I’m making shit up as I go along. I have very little idea what to say to you right now.”
“Thank you. Just — thank you,” either choosing to brush off or not taking in what I had just said. His voice has taken on that low, airy tone to it, signaling he’s serious and emotional about what he’s saying.
A gaping hole of silence is filled with everything we, or at least I, don’t want to say. Years of history: friendship, silence, college, a relationship, addiction, heartbreak… What if there had been no addiction? What if he had chosen me more than once? Would we still be on the phone right now? Every decision he’s made has led us to this point in time. What he’s saying now contradicts what he’s said before: “The way I see myself when I look at you or think about you still makes me feel like I can’t escape my past no matter how hard I try.” By all accounts, this conversation shouldn’t be happening. And yet, here I was, his past, helping him deal with his future.
I breathe in deeply again, this path of what-ifs isn’t actually going to help me, just like I told him. It only makes things hurt more.