Phone call from Angela, excerpt from Flowers on Concrete

I included this as an acknowledgements because the way Trey sticks up for Sean was stolen from a real life conversation I had with someone.

“Is this Trey?”

I could tell immediately who it was. How she had gotten my number I wasn’t sure, probably from Sean, but the invention of the telephone had never seemed so miraculous. That voice, sealed against my ear, and the image of her face it conjured. I closed my eyes and everything else went away. “Angela?”

“Hi.”

“Is everything okay?” I sat up in bed. She probably didn’t have any idea she was calling in the middle of my night. The sleep schedule I’d spent years honing was going out the window, lately.

“Everything is fine. What is up with you?”

“I’m up. Yeah.” I slid to the edge of the bed and hopped off. It didn’t seem right hearing her voice while I was lying in bed without her knowing. It felt like it should have been illegal.

She giggled and I managed to get my other ear plugged with my finger and cup the phone tightly to the side of my face. The rudimentary acoustic design of the phone’s ear piece worked in tandem with the intricate evolutionary design of my ear to put Angela in my brain. I felt giddy from the intimacy and I had to sit down. I gasped, right into the phone. There was a long pause, and I covered the mouth piece and held my breath.

“I didn’t wake you up, did I?”

“No. You didn’t. It is, sort of, my bedtime, but I wasn’t asleep.”

“Oh. I could let you go.”

“No. No, I wasn’t sleeping. I probably won’t be sleeping for a while.”

Another long pause followed. Right when I was kicking myself for not having some conversation topics—in the unlikely event of her calling—jotted on a sheet of paper and near the phone, she gave a long sad sigh. A sound I appreciated even more than her giggle, even while it broke my heart. “I’m worried about Sean.”

“Why? Did everything go okay with his car?”

“Yeah. Well, he had it towed to the dump. We’re sharing mine, for a while. Just, I’m worried about how he’s being. Like that thing today, that just wasn’t normal, was it?”

“I’m probably not the best person to ask. I thought that was just the way he was, but you’ve known him longer than I have. He did have a point, although he probably took it too far, maybe.”

“I guess.” Angela paused a lot while she was talking. During the breaks, I could hear her breaths and my pulse in the phone. “And then when we had the car towed. What the guy at the salvage yard offered for the car and what the guy towing it was charging were about the same, and Sean made a huge stink about it. He called it a conspiracy. It was so embarrassing.”

“Well, he’s not one to be taken advantage of. I kind of admire him for that.”

“But how did that even make sense? It was just coincidence.”

“He might have been upset about his car, understandably.”

Angela giggled into my ear. “Every time I say something bad about Sean, you stick up for him. You’re sweet. You’re a good friend. I just wonder if you’re really seeing him.” She groaned a little. Another sound I enjoyed. “That sounded bad. He is a good person. He’s like a brother to me.”

Like a brother to me, more music to my ear.

“I love him. It’s just he gets worse and worse, faster and faster, these days. I don’t know what to do. He’s so angry all the time.”

“He’s passionate.”

She giggled. “You did it again.”

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