Two light sources tried their hand at breaking the darkness apart; the smoldering orange of a lit cigarette, flaring brightly as he inhaled, and the pale white-blue of a cell phone screen. Cris navigated his pitifully short contact list, selecting one of the three names, and not the one that usually received his call.
He put the phone to his ear.
Taking a long draw from his cigarette, he waited out the greeting to a voicemail box.
"Gem," he said on an exhale. "It's Cris. Ahm. I know it's late and believe me when I tell you I'm not entirely sure why I'm calling. In fact, I'm even less certain how wise it is in the first place?
"I've?more or less lost contact with Salome. It was a mutual decision to do so and not the result of any tragedy, however?that leaves me completely without an ear to hear me.
"I've replayed the afternoon your empathic abilities triggered in my presence every single day? In a way, ever since then, you've known that there was something more affecting me than I've ever let on. Should you like to know more?I believe I'm ready to tell you."
Suddenly, the tone of his voice changed, tensing, and words rushed to get from his brain to his tongue.
"You know what? I apologize for this message. I think I made a mistake. I?miss my friend. That's all it is." He chuckled, a weak and breathless sound. "I'm truly sorry to bother you."
Hanging up, Cris threw the phone into the pillow dented with the shape of his head and streaked with sweat. He pinched the bridge of his nose with the tips of scarred fingers and set about burying the memory of the call under the other detritus present in his mind.