The phone rang. The melismatic ringtone sharply resonating in my head.
My mind chanted one ‘shit’ after the other in quick succession. “Shit Shit Shit, what was I supposed to tell him? How was I going to explain forgetting this, for two weeks?” What started as a joke, a generous offer seemed so important to him.
The truth is I had really forgotten. But that was such a lame excuse, I could not let myself sound so disconnected. Things had come up really. I got weighed down by the doldrums of life and Monsieur was the last thing on my mind.
I had deadlines, appointments, deals to chase… Time to sit down and think of myself and everything that should so deeply concerned me, was the scrimpiest I had.
The phone still rang, stopped, vibrated and rang again. Like a night dancer on a mission.
I should probably have told him about how the boss had been breathing down my neck. I barely had any time to myself. I couldn’t even drink water and breathed in cautiously for the fear of chocking on Oxygen.
The rate at which the voices in my head cursed, was mirrored by the way I nibbled at my nails. “Maybe I should tell him that I did write his weekly letters but they were too cheesy to be sent?” Cheesy, naaah not nice. Oh and that would be a lie too. Dang!
“Or maybe I should go all out about how stressed I am so he would not have to bring it up?” That would work!
If he did bring it up still, I wouldn’t have much explaining to do. Because like I said, I was stressed. And a girl needs a foot massage not a polygraph whenever stressed.
Hell, that was a lie too. Plus Monsieur knows I’d rather die than let on about how bad things are. Argh!
The phone still rang. Maybe it was an SOS. Maybe he was under attack. Maybe be, maybe not.
‘Be a man, stroke your balls’. The voices in my head mocked while the more empathetic ones still cursed. “Okay, let me just get over with this ah! What is Life?”
I picked on the fifth ring.
“Bonjour Monsieur,” I said with all the calm I could marshal.
“Bonjour. How is my Madame?” he asked ever so coolly. Why was he always so calm??? It rattled my nerves more than he’d ever know.
“Fine, fine. You know, getting by.” I was so proud of my composure; I managed to sound quite relaxed. Even enjoying myself. “To what do I owe this so pleasant impromptu call?” I asked as that would be the only logical way to act aloof.
Also, he knew I disliked phone calls so we had an unspoken agreement to first text before placing a call, to judge whether a call was necessary. In most cases, it would never be. I juggled his chances with the perfect adroitness. I made sure of that.
“Just making sure you’re still alive. Like alive alive, like breathing. You know how something is long overdue…” he said.
I sunk, like in a marshy peat bog. I haven’t recovered. I might not recover, I could be buried, dead.