She reached across the pillow on the empty side of her bed and picked up the telephone. Thunder grumbled loudly as a flash of lightning revealed the rain frantically trying to penetrate the glass of her bedroom window. Had the phone been ringing or was it just the thunder that had roused her?
“Hey. You asleep?” His voice came through the receiver like an electric shock. It sounded like a few beers and had that late night silkiness she knew so well. “I know it’s kinda late but I’ve been thinking about you all night. It’s the rain, I guess.” There was a long pause. “You remember don’t you…how it was when it rained?”
His voice was a soft hand that traveled slowly from her cheek down her throat then straight down until she felt the familiar tightening in the pit of her stomach. She felt the nipples of her breasts harden against the smooth silk of her gown.
“I know it’s been a while. Say, there’s nobody…you’re alone aren’t you?
Without him she was always alone.
“I just needed someone to talk to. You always understood, you know?”
Yes, she knew. She knew exactly. It was the same while he was married to Loretta, then again when he left wife number two. What was her name? He was always leaving someone. But this time would be different. Yes, different. She was stronger now, much stronger.
“Just shootin’ a little pool with the guys, Ernie, Joe, same old guys.”
Yes, always the same old guys. A night on the town with the guys meant that he was once again leaving someone. “In a phone booth at Ninth and Johnson, near Pete’s Place. You remember.”
In a flash of lightning she saw the raindrops trailing down the glass panels of the phone booth. His elbow would be propped against the top of that bulky late night recipient of all those dimes. She could see his lips almost touching the mouthpiece, white perfect teeth revealed by his I-know-it’s-late bad boy smile. The five o’clock shadow, darkened past midnight, circled his mouth, edged over his chin and down his throat to a tee shirt the white of a James Dean movie. He held the heavy black receiver lightly and confidently in the unmanicured fingers of his pale hand. She let her mind’s eye concentrate on the dark hair that covered the back of each finger. She would not see his eyes.
Lazily she rolled over onto the cool undisturbed side of her bed and lay face down, her resolve fortified by the calm the coolness brought to her flushed cheeks and body.
“So, maybe I could come by. Just for a while?”
The thunder rumbled a protest.
“I just need to talk…you know.”
Then she saw them. In a flash of lightning his eyes were there in the rain streaked pane of her bedroom window. Amber with dark flecks in the iris, ringed by long thick black lashes that curled at the tips, the eyelids lowered slightly. Those eyes, they never changed. Whether they fought, laughed, or played. Even when he was serious they did not change. Come to bed, they said.
“Just for a while?”
Come to bed they always said and she always did. Yes, just for a while.
©Rebecca Campbell Barrett