I never answer the phone because nobody ever calls for me. Basically I’m never home anyway, and when I am, people just show up at my door so we can leave. When it rings this time though I get a hunch, a compulsion really, and cut off everybody else going to answer the call.

Who’s this?

Hello? Can I speak to Samm?

This him.


Abby is that you?


You sound different on the phone.

So do you.


In the background rush hour traffic carrying the town home, a sound like the feeling of a pulse against your cheek. Quiet and throbbing like the very moment between us. It didn't hurt exactly, but it was enough to drive you mad, like staring at a thin wire and imagining it piercing your eye.

My brother saw you at that party.

Are we together?


So it’s not like I cheated on you.


What do you want me to say?

Why do you always get what you want?

You sound like your brother now.

What’s wrong with that?

You’re not him.

I don’t know who I am.

Yes you do.

It still hurts, you know.

Does it?

No, but shouldn't it?

What’s should? You feel how you feel. How do you feel?

Like I don't care, but that I do care that my friends and family care and think I should care or feel, I don't know, differently. What if my brother’s right and something's wrong with me?

What does your sister say?

She sticks up for you like always, but I just wish I knew what you want.

I was a bad kind, so somebody was always trying to fix me. Not her though. I was always enough for her and that always surprised me. Could it really be so simple to be free?

Your family has always been here, but me? I’ll leave Harmony Hill one day, no mind if I want to or not, but I’ll come back. I will come back. When I do, before anything else, I’ll come calling for you. 

And until then?

I have to practice leaving so the real thing won't kill me.


Abigail, you have my heart in a way nobody else ever will.

Can you come over?

I’m on my way.

Without another word I hang up the phone and take my coat off the hook.

Brian Shaughnessy