by Marc Laidlaw
“I have to throw on some clothes. I’ll be there in a few minutes.”
It was an unusually protracted farewell for such a casual conversation. He realized that he was holding the phone very tightly in the dark, cradling it against his cheek and ear as if he were holding her hand to his face, feeling her skin cool and warm at the same time. And now there was no further word from her. Connection broken.
He had to fight the impulse to dial her again, instantly, just to reassure himself that the phone still worked – that she was still there. He could imagine her ridicule: he was slowing her down, she was trying to get dressed, he was causing yet another inconvenience on top of so many others.
With the conversation ended, he was forced to return his full attention to his surroundings. He listened, heard again the wind, the distant sound of still water. Still water which made sounds
only when it lapped against something, or when something waded through it. He couldn’t tell one from the other right now. He wished he were still inside the car, with at least that much protection.
She was going to find him. He’d been only a few minutes, probably less than a mile, from home. She would be here any time.