My cell phone rings.
“Hey,” he greets me. I hear the distinct sound of rocks crunching beneath his feet, so I realize he’s walking. Probably returning to his house from one of those neurotic midnight pacings he does.
“Hey,” I reply, suppressing my protective instinct and swallowing the lecture I was going to give him about wandering around outside by his self. Let him make his own mistakes, I think as I sink into an antique armchair by the window. Dark outside. So dark.
“Remember a few months ago?” he asks. I mumble something similar to Mmhm, though I literally have no idea what he wants me to remember. A whole lot of shit - just a whole hell of a lot - occurred a few months ago. I let him talk and assume I’ll catch up eventually.
“Remember when I said I was over it?” Oh, no… please, not this again… “Well, I’m not.” Big surprise there. “I’ve been thinking a lot lately, and I just can’t. I can’t let it go. Remember when I said that I wouldn’t do anything?”
At this point I sit up in my chair. My breathe is short. My chest is tingling. In the still of the night, I can hear my heart rapidly beating.
There is a very specific way one has to deal with this young man. I haven’t known him long enough to figure out all of it, but still, I know more than anyone else. He’s tested my patience and occasionally my sanity with his constant questions and irrational way of thinking, yet I’ve proven myself capable to handle everything he hurls my way. Until tonight.
Because right now, every alarm and flashing red light in my mind is going off. On the line, I hear one door shut and a second open, muffled metallic clinks, and the sound of several heavy objects being dumped on a table.
I am now on my feet.
“Ok, listen, you’re not -” I begin, stalling for time while I stumble around in the darkness of my own house with the phone in one hand and a dying flashlight in the other, attempting to find where I’d flung my coat in a fire-hazard maze of moving boxes.
“Remember when I called off my plan for revenge?” he says, coolly, casually, cutting me off. One by one, I hear him loading them and wonder no more about the clinking sounds. I stop searching for the coat. Suddenly, I don’t have any spit left in my mouth.
Fuck it, I think, heading toward the door and preparing myself to enter a bone-chilling winter night at 2:53am. I curse the moonless sky. Could’ve sworn he had a prescription for sleeping pills.
I mutter and stutter, struggling to come up with a reply in between breaths as I run. If I can get there in time, I can stop him. On the line again, there are the sounds of his own front door opening and the careful setting of his rifle case to rest in the floor.
“Yeah, well, forget what I said before,” he continues, ignoring me. “It’s back on.”