tmbt: waiting for the ring
We used to wait by the phone. Now there are so many places to wait, to fish, to hope. We used to walk by and stare at the receiver as if willing it to shake under the movement of the ringer. Sometimes, it would. It would shake just as an explosion of dinging, clanking little bells filled the room. Sometimes the long cord, twisted on its own and by our pacing would quiver in small undulations all the way to the floor. Sometimes, the phone would ring. And then it wouldn’t.
We used to wait for the phone. Upstairs, sprawled across the bed feigning study or staring unabashedly out the window towards the far-off horizon, we’d wait and wonder. The list of why’s and how’s and when’s and questions and answers would pile up around us like pencil shavings making as if to blanket us from that sky, that very real, dark, and ever-falling sky. Pile up like feathers from all the pillows tossed and sunken, watered for the sake of whatever hope tree might spring from it, piled up all around as if to drown out the sound of silence calling out from the kitchen wall and what it did not hold. Pile up slowly like shreds of three-ring notebook paper, like dried mud tracks, like water rising slowly to give us peace from the living.
We would wait. And we would die a little with the waiting. We would collapse a little under the weight of every second hand pounding a hole deeper and deeper into our chests, numbing our fingers to the pen, closing our eyes to the surely impossible. We would wait. And we would die. But we would keep walking. We would keep walking by the phone, waiting for it to ring.