Hang up the phone slowly. He'll call back this time. Who cares if he never
does? Walk over to your dresser and pull out your pajamas, the warm ones
with the rubber duckies on them. Put the pants on, right leg first, then
the left one. Glance at your phone. It's still there. Pull off your shirt.
Put your pajama shirt on, right arm first, then the left one. Take your
hair out of its ponytail. Pick up your brush and pull it through your hair,
right side first, then the left. Look at your phone as though you're
willing it to ring. It won't.
Walk to the bathroom. Open the toothpaste and absent-mindedly pick off the
blue crusty stuff on the tube. Squeeze the bottom of the tube and carefully
slide your fingers up until the minty blue goo spills out. Catch it on your
toothbrush. Start your timer and scrub for exactly two minutes, the right
side first, then the left. Make sure to listen for your phone to ring.
Spit. Rinse out the excess foam, and spit again.
Run back your room and look at your cell phone. You will have no missed
calls. That's okay. Something came up. His mom wants him to walk the dog.
He has a lacrosse game tomorrow and has to go to bed early. His little
sister needs the phone. Choose an excuse and convince yourself of it.
You'll call again tomorrow to make sure everything's okay. With him, that
is. Or his family. Because everything's going great between you. Really.
He's just been busy.
You've been at boarding school for three months. Everything was all right
before you left. Of course he wants to see you. Ignore the rumors about him
lying to you about being recruited for lacrosse. He's really good. And
especially ignore the rumor about his other girlfriend. You know, the one
who still lives here and is just a little bit prettier than you? The one
whose cheeks he kisses every morning, right side first, then the left.
Smile because you've rubbed off on him, even though you know they're just
Look at your phone again. No missed calls. Check to make sure it isn't on
silent mode, even though you know it isn't. Put it in its charger. Tell
yourself that calls don't come through when the battery is low. Ignore the
message on your phone that says "battery full." Plug the charger in next to
your bed. You're not desperate. That's just the best outlet. Climb into bed
and turn out the lights. Stare at the red light on the charger until your
eyelids are too heavy to hold up anymore. He promised everything would be
okay right before you left. He'll call back. Really, he will.