An annoying sound was pulling me out of my dreamworld with Duncan and vampire fangs and fishnets and threesomes. I tried to ignore it. I tried to focus on Dream Duncan nibbling my ear and scraping his fangs against my neck. But he started fading. I squeezed my eyes shut and tried to bring the dream back, but it was too late. The afterimage lingered behind my eyelids. I watched the red-hued afterimage dance around while my ears made sense of the sound. It wasn't an alarm. It wasn't the sound of a billion people outside cheering on the runners during the New York Marathon (When that did happen, I thought aliens were invading). It was just my phone ringing and vibrating at the same time.
But it wasn't loud enough to pull me out of that glorious dream, so it must have just been annoying enough. Meaning it must have been ringing for a long time. I pried one eye open and looked at the screen. It was Will. I couldn't see what time it was because his phone number and a picture of us were taking up the entire screen, but it felt early. That must mean it's important. I tried to clear my throat so he wouldn't have to endure my scratchy morning voice that somewhat resembles that of James Earl Jones after a rough night.
"Hello?" It came out sounding more like Dermot Mulroney than James Earl. Quite an improvement. I rubbed my eyes while I waited for his response.
"Did I wake you up?" he asked, sounding more curious than apologetic.
"Yeah, what time is it? Are you OK?" I absolutely hated early-morning urgent phone calls. They're never good news. It's either someone calling to tell me that yet another one of my fellow high school graduates died or it's my mom asking me if I knew I only had $45 in my bank account until my next payday in two weeks.
"It's 10. And I need to talk."
That didn't sound good. Apparently he'd slept on it, and he was no longer grateful that I'd kept our promise. I wished I would have had a cup of coffee before answering the phone, because by the sound of his voice, I was going to need a double-shot espresso, stat.
"OK, I'm listening." I closed my eyes and lied back down on my pillow. Maybe it would be easier to take if I were cozy under my covers. Well, as cozy as you can be on a futon mattress from the early 90s. Oh, and did I mention that mattress was on the floor?
"I just can't believe you're doing this. You're throwing all of this away for some guy you just met? Everything we've been through for someone who might not even work out?"
He was angry.
I took a deep breath while I tried to figure out the best way to answer.
"Will, regardless of the guy, you and I can't keep doing this. This thing we have going isn't OK. Even if I never see this guy again, you and I have to call it quits at some point. You know I'm not going to commit to you, and I can't let you wait around for me while I go find myself in the big city."
I don't think he'd heard a word I said. He already had his next line on the tip of his tongue, waiting for me to finish before he threw it out at me.
"I've wasted so much time and so much money on this relationship! This is bullshit! You're just throwing it all away!"
He was going to cling to that 'throwing it away' line, I could tell. But he had it all wrong. I wasn't trashing out relationship. If anything, I was pulling it out of the trash, giving both of us another chance to be happy apart from each other. Bitch, I'd call that recycling!
"Will, I'm really sorry you see it that way. I'm not throwing it away, but I don't think there's anything I can say right now to make you see it differently. You're pissed, and you have every right to be. I just hope that you'll understand it later." I hated to picture Will upset. He was always so happy, always upbeat, always positive. So to hear him use the tone he was using right then meant I'd royally pissed him off. I squeezed my eyes shut to keep the tears back.
"Whatever man. Have fun with your new man. Hope that works out for you." At that, he hung up. He didn't really want it to work out for me, I could tell that by the thick layer of cruel sarcasm in his voice. But deep down, way deep down beneath all of the layers of hurt I'd caused him, he really did want the best for me. He's just that kind of guy. Sure, he hated me right then, but our years and years of friendship made me believe that one day we'd be best friends again.
And we are. He forgave me and we held onto our friendship. It was worth it. That phone call happened two years ago this November. Last Valentines day, Will celebrated his one-year anniversary with his new girlfriend Pauline. They're perfect for each other. She's the only person I've ever met who smiles as much as he does. They're adorable, and they have a blast together. They went skydiving, and they took a class in Puerto Rico together. He couldn't be happier. She patched up his heart and offered hers in return, silver platter and all. She's beautiful. They're beautiful. And they lived happily ever after...
Or so we hope :)