Her voice is on the line.
She answers the phone with a familiar tone.
I can hear it in her voice. She’s happy to hear from me.
She doesn’t exactly know what’s been happening between me and her lately.
It’s a familiar sound. A few weeks ago, when she’d gone away to college, I’d felt the same way.
I sent a few unreturned texts, left a message that took a lot longer than normal before she got back to me.
Was she seeing someone else? Was she losing interest in me?
When we finally connected I’d felt that relief. She still cared. We still trusted each other. And flirted like crazy.
I can hear it in her voice today. She’s glad that I called.
“Are we still hanging out tomorrow?” she asks after we talk for a bit.
I tell her that I’ve been feeling weird lately, a lot of anxiety. And that I don’t want to hang out the next day.
I don’t explain to her the logical truth, that I’m trying to make things work with another girl. I am now monogamous with someone else. She doesn’t need to hear it.
So I just explain the way I feel, which is the truth. I feel awful at this moment.
I have to let her go. And it feels horrible. This isn’t how things were supposed to go, I’ve always believed.
Things were supposed to be clean and fun, like in Disney movies. I meet that right person and we’re singing and dancing off into the sunset.
I care about the other girl I am monogamous with. But it is no consolation prize. It feels like something irreplaceable is crumbling to dust here.
I want to console her, and tell her I care. But I know you can’t put distance between yourself and another person and pull them in at the same time. That’s just too confusing for her.
I can hear the disappointment in her voice as I get off the phone with her. I go back to the workshop I’m teaching.
I walk around and talk and interact with people, all the while feeling like I’ve gained and lost something I incalculable, something that is slipping away by the moment.