Reconciliation (Flash Fiction)

I recognized your number when you called. It interrupted a lunch I was having with friends, dear friends who care for me. I let your call go and there was a pause, a long pause, while you left your voicemail. I hoped you had hung up. I hoped that long pause was you moving on, again, like always. But then there was that secondary buzz and the little emblem on the screen. Apparently you had something to say. A lot to say. I wondered what it was, and I had to apologize to my friend who was sitting across from me, telling me a story I was sincerely interested in. I had to ask her to repeat what she had said, but even then I couldn’t focus. I couldn’t really pay attention.

I had to sit in patient wonder at what you could possibly have to say after years of silence.

As the day wore on, I began to fill in the blanks. You called to apologize, to finally say you’re sorry. You finally realized your love for me and that you needed me in your life. You wanted me back again. Like old times. Smiles and laughs. Hugs and joy. Before things went bad.

Or

You had bad news to break. Mom had died. She spent the last years of our rift suffering in silence, and now she was gone and you had conjured a reason to find me to blame.

Or

You were sick. Really sick. Sick enough to find yourself overburdened with regrets and now you were trying to make amends. Partly because it was right, partly because getting your head clear of guilt might help to give you a fighting chance. Either way, it was about saving you and not me.

Or

Or I don’t know, because you never call me. You never see me or seek me or show any kind of sign that I’m needed in your life. I’m discarded now just as I’ve always been. And I don’t know why I should be so bothered by this now, much like I was then, when clearly there are no signs to feel otherwise. Like a ghost at the end of the hall, I only seem to see you. You can only spare a passing glare at me and then fade away like a vapor in the air and I’m left sighing for so long that I can’t remember what it’s like to breathe in at all.

Lunch went well, as well as it can be. I hurried to my car and pulled the phone from my purse. One voice mail. Your number. I pressed the phone to my ear.

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