I hadn’t expected to hear from Lily again, I’m not sure why, maybe because I had figured that I had made her uncomfortable during our meeting and who would want to go through that twice, so it was a surprise when she called me early Saturday afternoon. I was still a bit unnerved about Ethan’s somewhat secretive phone call although I told myself that this reunion with Lily was what had me on edge and that I was overreacting where no reaction was needed. While nibbling on the homemade blueberry pancakes Ethan had made and served me in bed my cell phone began chirping at me. It caught me by surprise because hardly anyone ever called me. This is, after all, the age of texting and as little human interaction as possible.
Glancing at my screen I didn’t recognize the number which would usually warrant a silence of the ringer on my end but for some reason I chose to answer it instead.
“This better be as good as the amazing blueberry pancakes my husband has just served me.”
“Oh, uh, hi. It’s, um, me.”
I rolled my eyes at the introduction. Telemarketers were getting creative with their recorded messages these days and I had had more than my share of the junk calls. Just as I pulled my phone away from my ear to disconnect the call the voice came again.
“This is Lily.”
My finger hovered over the disconnect button while my other hand froze in mid bite, syrup slowly dripping off my fork. The words froze in my throat all I could do was sit with my mouth open, eyes wide. Just then, Ethan entered the room.
“Ready for mo-“
He stopped mid sentence, a cup of orange juice in one hand, a small basket of fruit in the other. His eyes slowly widened and I wondered what kind of look I had on my face.
“Lily,” I mouthed the words, laying my fork down on my plate and sliding the whole thing onto the bedside table. The words were stuck in my throat so I sat there, gaping, like a washed up fish trying to pull air into its lungs.
“I’m sure you don’t want to talk to me after the way our meeting went, but I just called to apologize.”
Instead of reassuring her that she hadn’t done anything wrong and instead of apologizing on my own behalf for having shocked her and probably hurting her with the truth, I said, “For?”
She laughed nervously.
“Honestly, I’m not sure? For disappointing you, for not knowing the right things to say? For missed time? For, well for everything.”
I didn’t know what to say to this, I certainly hadn’t expected this. I hadn’t expected to hear from Lily again at all.
“Well, I’m sure you had your reasons. Besides, there’s not much use in crying over the past. Anyways, let’s agree to accept each other’s apologies and just let it be.”
Lily sniffles a bit on the other end.
“Are, are you… crying?”
Here was yet another thing I hadn’t expected. I wasn’t really sure what I had expected but it wasn’t a woman I didn’t know blubbering on the phone with me for something as trivial as giving her child up for adoption. Or maybe she was crying because our meeting hadn’t gone as planned. Or maybe it was the stress from the whole situation.
“I’m just, I just, you know…”
I waited a moment for her to finish her sentence and wondered if she had disconnected the call. Beside me, Ethan had started snacking on breakfast, half watching the morning news which he had turned down low. I chewed on my bottom lip while I waited for Lily to finish her sentence.
The morning sun shown through the window and onto the carpet, making patterns, circles and lines that I had never noticed the sun did before. It was mesmerizing to watch the slivers and bubbles of light slowly twist and dance on the carpet. The colors were brilliant, purples and pinks and golds and even a green somehow. It seemed as though everything else faded away except for these colors. It was almost as though I had tunnel vision, everything else around me save for these beautiful colors faded away, the noises, the room, the furniture. All I was aware of was the colors and of my own breath coming in slowly, going out slowly, the gentle beat of my heart.
I blinked and suddenly Ethan was shaking me, trying to get my attention.
“Christ! You scared the hell outta me! Where’d you go?”
I looked around the room, everything looked the same, maybe a bit dimmer outside than it had been a moment ago.
I tried to control the feeling of panic inside while I tried to comprehend what had just happened. The phone lay in my lap, the screen dark.
“You’ve been sitting there like that, staring off into space, at the ground actually, for close to four hours. At first I thought you were just daydreaming but even when i snapped my fingers, shook you gently, clapped my hands, nothing.”
Ethan had at some point knelt on the bed in front of me, his hands on either side of my face, his own face very close to mine, worry laced in his eyes. I looked to the spot on the carpet where the brilliant light had been shining but now there was only darkness. The darkness had swallowed the brilliant, beautiful light.
Written in response to The Daily Post.