Wrong Side of a Phoneline
I’ve seen those movies and TV shows where some electric current can be seen following a line. Phone or internet wires leading between people, and the current is a bright colour; usually red, yellow or green. Nobody gets zapped. But the shock is felt regardless. And it makes me think of how often bad news is sent by a phoneline. Heartbreak ensues. Someone’s love is lost. Whether it’s someone leaving you, or someone dying. And you wonder if the wire between you was cut, soldered and now frayed. As one of the hearts must be now. Maybe even both.
And I know I’m only thinking this, because I’m sitting staring at the phone in my hand. Afraid to hang up in case I lose all connection with you and your voice. Yet knowing the connection was gone before this call. I just didn’t know it yet.
I know intellectually that I am in shock. But I just cannot change what I am doing. My heart wants to keep hold of you, by touching the phone. And it isn’t real, I know that. But I can’t stop myself.
I can’t feel anything. I just stare and stare. Not making note of the buzzing, at first. And not even hearing that horrible beeping(?) noise they make when they want you to hang up. You know the one, right? How do you describe that? A beep?
If I could, I’d melt thru the phone and come find you. Become part of you, so you can never leave me. But that just isn’t possible. I want to hang up and come find you. But even supposing i did, nothing’d change. Would it? Nothing I do will change what is.
Not as a human anyways. So, being very careful not to lose my grip on the phone. I grab my grandma’s grimoire. I am familiar enough with it that I know no spell of hers fits this exact situation. But i might be able to mix a few to get what I want done.
What do I want done though? Now there is the rub! I’m in an unfeeling state. Maybe down the road, I’ll know if I want recoupling or revenge. I’ll know if I want you to pay, or just want you dead. Right now, all I feel is the phone in my hand.
I want to beg, I want to cry. But for what? I want to be sad, I want to be angry. But again, for what? Nothing will change.
Until I realize it’s not you who has offended me. No, maybe that is why I am emotionless. Because otherwise I’d have to recognize it’s my fault. I’m the one who fucked up. Everything you did was in reaction to the pain I caused you. And I am numb because I don’t know what I should be thinking, feeling, doing now.
All I can do is sit, and stare at the phone.
Till I hear the operator’s voice, asking me if I’ll accept a call from a worried person trying to get thru to me. I hold the phone to my ear, and the operator tells me my mom is trying to reach me. I tell the operator to put the call thru.
I hear mom’s voice now and I start to feel. Mom is there in spirit now and I can let go of the fog, the confusion, the shock and let her pamper me. I tell her that I screwed up and lost my love.
And all mom knew to say was, “oh honey…” Over and over again. Till I hung up. I didn’t deserve her sympathy. But i knew she had a very short drive to get to me, and i’d have it anyway.
So what was I going to do now?
I looked at the grimoire again…. What help could I find there? Something to soothe my guilt? Something to change what had happened? Something to make me forget?
Not really no. So I sat down outside, on the porch step, and waited for my mom.
I didn’t have long to wait.
Lee Michaels – Do You Know What I Mean
Dr. Hook – Sylvia’s Mother
RIKKI DON’T LOSE THAT NUMBER (1974) by Steely Dan
Jim Croce – Operator