Can I Call?

‘Can I call?’

She pushed send and dropped the phone down on the mattress behind her head. She didn’t have any great hopes that she would receive any reply at all, let alone a positive one so she just lay there, in the dark, trying not to think too much about it.

Probably shouldn’t have even done that, she thought. Only asking for trouble.

Her phone trilled its message signal. “Too late now,” she muttered and reached back for it. Flipping it open she pushed one key and a one-word answer flashed at her. ‘Sure.’ “Well, don’t overwhelm me with your enthusiasm.”

She settled back against the pillow. Even her muttered response brought a guilty feeling. God knows she had been conducting conversations with this technology long enough to know that sometimes taking the time to instill some semblance of emotion to the written words was just not worth the effort. Most likely this was one of those times.

From memory she punched in the number, and waited for the international bells and whistles to do their thing.



“What are you doing up?”

“Oh, you know. Just lying here in the dark. In my bed. In my room. The same room, the same bed and the same dark where I conducted my end of our entire relationship.”

“Ooooookaaaay. Having a bad night, then?”

“Not especially. It just occurred to me that for me, our relationship was always in the dark, in bed. And for you it was always an early morning thing at your desk, or driving to work.”

“Not always.”

“Most of the time.”

“Sometimes I was in bed too. Or in the bath.”

That brought a smile, even through her dark mood. And she could hear the smile at the other end of the line. “That’s true. You could have been electrocuted, y’know.”

“It was worth the risk.”

She chuckled. “Indeed.”

“So. What’s brought on all these reminiscences?”

“Dunno. Just missing you, I guess. Missing us.”

“You’re the one who ended it.”

”Yes, thanks for that. I didn’t really need reminding.”

She could almost hear the shrug through the phone line. “What do you want me to say? You called me.”

“I know. But you could have said no.”

“I could never say no to you.”

“Sure you could. Pretty much every time it was important.”

“Did you really call for an argument?”

She laughed, the beginnings of a Monty Python sketch sounding inside her head.

“What’s so funny?”

“Nothing translatable, trust me.”


“Oh, don’t get snarky. That argument line of yours resembles a Monty Python sketch, is all.”

“I never did get them.”

“I know, that’s why I didn’t bother getting into it.” There was a long pause. She could hear movement and typing. “What are you doing?”

“Checking my email.”

“Well, I’m glad I’ve got your undivided attention.”

“You weren’t saying anything, love.”

God, don’t call me that. “Maybe I was just enjoying your company.”

The skeptical snort at the other end came as no surprise.



“How’s the gargoyle?”

“God, I wish you wouldn’t call her that.”


“She’s okay. Tired, mainly. Still having to shuttle back and forth to the hospital a couple of times a week for tests. But so far things seem to be going pretty well, considering.”

“That’s great.”

“You don’t mean that.”

“I half mean it.”

“How can you half mean it?”

“Well, half of me is just being polite. The other half just wants you to be happy. And if her being healthy and happy does that, then I mean it.”

“Well, she’s healthier, at least.”

“Still sprinkling love and light wherever she goes?”

“Stop it, okay?”


There was another long pause.



“Wanna have sex?”

The laugh that came back to her was deep and throaty and genuine. “Oh, my love, you always did have a unique sense of humour.”

“What makes you think I was trying to be funny?”

“We could never just ‘have sex’.”

“There’s a first time for everything.”

“Not for this. Since when can you just have sex, without any emotional involvement?”

“Who said there wouldn’t be any emotion?”

“That would be a really bad idea. For us both.” Another pause. “Unless …”

“Unless what?”

“Unless you’re changing your mind. Again.”

“Ouch. Cheap shot.”

Again with the shrug, soundless, but there, nonetheless.

“You don’t really just want to have sex.” A statement.

“God, I was just trying to be funny. And I seem to recall you laughing.”

“It wasn’t really a happy laugh.”

“It wasn’t?”


“What kind of laugh was it?”


“Ah. Sorry. Guess it was a bad joke.”

“You’ve been funnier.”

“Eh, it’s the middle of the night. What do you expect?”

Another pause.

“So. Were you tempted?”

“My god, you’re incorrigible.”

“No question. Were you?”

“Yes, of course I was.”

“But now we’ve overanalysed it, right?”

“You mean, apart from the fact that it would be a really bad idea for us both, and you were only joking anyway? Yes, we’ve overanalysed it.”

“Why do we do that?”

“Because we are what we are, and we were what we were.”

“That’s pretty deep for 2am.”

“Well, it’s 11am here.”

“Actually, it’s 11am yesterday.”

“Don’t confuse me.”

“You like it when I confuse you.”

“All the more reason not to do it.”

“You’re tempted again. I can tell.”

“Stop it.”


“You’re not being fair.”

“I know.”

“You ended it.”

“I know.”

“Damn it, I have to go. She’s up and about.”

“Immaculate timing, as always.”

“I’m sorry.”

“It’s okay. Thanks for letting me call.”

“It was good to hear your voice.”

“Have a good day.”

“Get some sleep.”



She closed the phone and dropped it back behind her head.

And here I am. Back in the room. In the bed. In the dark.

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