She Called Back Tonight
By William Kimzey
This time I answered. I pressed 0 accepting the collect call. Just making sure she didn't need money, or wasn't being transferred to the next place.
But she just wanted to talk. I said I didn't.
She said why not? I said because it didn't make me feel good.
She said what about me? I said I couldn't help her.
She said she would never have abandoned me. I said we'd never know that.
She said yes we do. I said, no, you have no idea what it would be like if your husband killed your son.
She said don't say that. I hung up.
I'd say the call lasted about 60 seconds.
And wake up at 3
And I can't get back to sleep. Imagining my wife committing suicide—how she would do it in her cell. Wondering if I should call the jail up and warn the night shift that last night I had a tough conversation with her. And how it wasn't just me that would be on her mind—how the one-year anniversary must be looming for her.
And then I was thinking about how I would break the news to our daughter, that I would call you. How we'd talk through not planting the thought in her mind, that I had pushed her mother over the edge.
Imagining the phone ringing. Some official, strange voice on the other end. Recalling other official voices in my head. Hearing the officer walk up the basement stairs, then telling me my son was dead.
Trying to anticipate how I would react to the news. The guilt if any.
Anger flushed from my system, replaced with what? Grief? Love? Sadness? Imagining the simplicity.
William Kimzey grew up in Nassau Bay, Texas, among the Astronauts and engineers that worked at Johnson Space Center. He has lived in Chicago, Los Angeles, Amsterdam, Jakarta and Hong Kong, and traveled extensively for work and pleasure. Last August he suffered a tragic event, and is in the process of recovering. His writing is part of his recovery. His fiction has been published once, in the inaugural issue of The Southern California Anthology, way back when.
Photo "Telephone" courtesy of Rama.
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