Note: This post touches on manipulation and, tangentially, depression.
“Shut up, just stop talking! You aren’t even listening to the words I am saying! They are carefully chosen for a reason, Dana! I’m fucking tired of everyone not helping me!” Len spits through the line.
Dana holds the phone away from her ear and rolls her eyes.
“Everyone has bent over backward for the last year to help you, you jerk, you just never see or acknowledge it,” she thinks, but does not say. She knows better.
“No one has any ideas, no one cares. You’re all a bunch of lazy dumbasses. None of you are any help. You are so stupid and hapless and unorganized…” his voice is getting louder and she can hear him clearly even though the phone is eight inches from her ear.
There was a time, when his growling baritone through the phone would make her cunt twitch. When him hissing in her ear as he fucked her “Who do you belong to?” would prompt a heartfelt “you” from her throat.
When he would say “You’ll always be mine, forever. No matter who else comes along, you are mine.” And she’d thrill at the very idea of this belonging.
But that was a long time ago. Now they are “just friends.” Sometimes she isn’t sure why.
“I would have been much better off without any of your help, you’re all useless, all you do is…”
He had a way of insulting her by using generic and indefinite pronouns. If he wasn’t accusing her directly, he could later say “What? I wasn’t talking about you,” and naturally it would all be a misunderstanding on her part.
“I have been fucking wasting my time with you people! I’m so tired of your fucking lip service…”
Dana looks at her phone, points her index finger carefully at the “End Call” button and hovers it there for a minute, thinking, weighing, breathing, deciding. Then she stabs at the smooth glass.
It takes two tries until blessed silence fills the room.
“He does not get to talk to me like that,” she reminds herself, her heart is pounding in her throat.
Then, she does something that she hasn’t done before. Not ever (a fact she’s a little ashamed to realize). She holds down the rubber button on the side of the phone and when the screen lights up with the menu, she carefully chooses “Power Off”.
Her stomach is lurching as she sits in her silent apartment.
Should she turn her phone back on? He hates it when she hangs up on him. What if he gets so mad he turns his anger on his flatmate or someone else? What if her hanging up on him causes him to run out into the street in a fit of rage and he gets hit by a bus?
She should turn it back on, tell him it was just a mistake.
“Sorry, my phone died”
“Sorry, I couldn’t find my power cord”
“Sorry, my phone hasn’t been holding a charge lately”
“Sorry, but I hate it when you yell like that”
“He does not get to talk to me like that.”
The turned-off phone is an elephant in the room. Is he calling it right now? How mad is he? Will he ever speak to her again? Does she care? Her stomach hurts and her heart is racing.
“No. He does not get to talk to me like that.”
What if he gets so depressed, he finally follows through on all his veiled threats to off-himself. What would she tell his mother?
“No. He does not get to talk to me like that anymore.”
She leaves the turned-off phone on her coffee table next to a cup of tea gone cold. She puts on her shoes and grabs a coat and locks the door behind her. Shutting the looming phone inside. With every block she walks her stomach unclenches a bit and her breathing gets more expansive. The cold air stings her wet cheeks, but her steps are light and fast.
When she gets back, the phone will just be a phone again. She might turn it on in the morning.
There are sure to be some knock-your-socks-off posts at Wicked Wednesday this week with a prompt like “Choices”.