Death. That was the only thing that made Alina pick up the phone and call him. It took her days to do it though because she wondered how he would respond. It had been six years since she spoke to him, since whatever was left of the love she had disappeared in their last conversation.
What should she say?
She understood the loss of a parent and he had lost his father, she had lost her mother. He was the first person she called, she thought he was still a safe place to go then. She wondered if his treatment of her back then was payback for not loving him the way he wanted or if he was protecting himself from her. She would never know because he kept his cards close just like she did.
Always at an impasse, but not willing to let each other go, they went around in circles for years. When it was finally over, when she finally decided to let go, she didn’t make an announcement. She stopped calling, and stopped answering his calls and texts. He finally gave up and she went on with her life, then she found out about his father.
She stared at her phone for what seemed like forever before she picked it up. His contact information was still there, but she didn’t know if his number was the same. She figured she would try it. It just didn’t feel right knowing about his loss and not saying anything. Even at the risk of him hanging up the phone she hit call. The phone rang once and she almost hung up. Twice….three times…four times and someone picked up. He took a breath and it seems like forever before he said anything. She still had time to hang up if she wanted, but she wanted to hear him, she needed to hear his voice.
“Hello,” he said.
He sounded tired. She could always tell by the sound of his voice how he felt. He sounded like he hadn’t been sleeping, probably for a few days. Now she needed to say something. Maybe hearing from her would make things better.
“Hi, Tony” she said, “I hope you don’t mind that I called, I just…I just wanted to say I’m sorry about your father.”
There was no need to announce who she was, she knew that he could tell.
He said her name and she smiled. Her heart didn’t skip a beat the way it once did, but it was good to hear him say it.
“Is it okay that I called?”
“It’s always okay. Where are you? Still in the same city?”
“I’m still in the same place, but I’m out of town right now. I needed to get away. I got a little stir crazy after the funeral.”
“You shouldn’t be alone right now.”
“I know, but I couldn’t breathe there.”
He was crying now. She had never heard that sound come from him before. She promised that she would be there no matter what happened between them. She never broken promises, so she didn’t hesitate with what she said next.
“Tell me where you are.”
“New York,” he said between sobs.
She had already opened a window to book a flight.
“I’m on my way.”