The clink of dishes and running water almost drowned out the shrill cry of the house phone. With a curse I shut off the nearly scalding water and grabbed a towel to dry my hands as I sprinted to the still ringing phone down the hall. Taking a deep breath, I picked up the receiver.
“Hello! This is Aerin speaking!” I answered as cheerfully as I could muster.
Silence and a low rumbling in the background greeted my ears before; “Hey, Aerin.” The voice sounded lifeless and dull but very familiar. I sighed, shifted my weight to my left foot and held the phone with my shoulder as I rolled my eyes.
“Colin. How come you haven’t answered any phone calls, dude? Seriously, your mom even phoned me and you how much she hates me.” I dropped the false cheerfulness in my voice and sighed again. “When you coming home? I assume that you’re not in town because that ancient cell you like to keep would actually connect to my calls.”
I heard a cough and a couple of people yelling at him in the background as his voice lowered even further. “I can’t say; listen, just tell her that I’m okay. Look Rin, I can’t come home. I can’t tell you why.” He sighed and if I knew him like I did, he was running his free hand through his black messy hair; making it stand up crazily. He hated keeping me out of his schemes. “Please don’t ask, I know you want to but once I’m done here I’ll crash at your place and I might be able to fill you in. All I can say is that I’m alright.”
“Is it... Your father?” My lips pursed in distaste as I thought of his deadbeat dad. Drunkard who left him and his mom stranded in the streets of New York. He was only three years old at the time.
He barked out a laugh that sounded more like a cough. “No way Rin. I’m done with his apologies and rants of ‘I’m getting better’. Sick of it.” His voice held a mocking tone when he said that but sobered up as he continued, “Rin, I really have to go. I just wanted to let you know I was alive at least. Don’t need you breaking down without me there. I know how bad it gets for you.” I swallowed and nodded before remembering that he couldn’t see me.
“Yeah, okay. Thanks.”
The phone was cut off before I was able to reply so I simply dropped it back down and trudged back to the tiny kitchen. I leaned against the door frame and stared at the wall with it’s peeling green wallpaper and crooked cabinets barely attached to the wall. I choked back a sob and wrapped my arms around my waist. ‘God Colin. You had to leave now of all times. Right when I need you the most.’ I sniffled, trying to hold myself together before I truly broke down and straightened my posture. ‘This is no time to lose it Aerin, not now.’ I walked back to the half full sink with a small pile of dirty dishes stacked next to it; awaiting a soapy bath. Pulling up my long sleeves of my grey sweater, I began to mindlessly clean my small apartment. I scrubbed the caked on cheese from last night’s dinner as my coffee pot started gurgling and sputtering sounds to tell me that it was done. I rinsed my last dish and pulled out a coffee mug, filling it with the lovely hot liquid that kept me somewhat relaxed. I left the dishes to air dry in the rack and took my coffee to the living room which also served as my bedroom and computer room. Dark brown carpets contrasted harshly with the neon yellow walls and the hot pink borders. I set my coffee down on the desk, as I spun the chair around enough to plant my butt into it’s soft leather. My bed was crowded behind the chair so I couldn’t move it around very much and the tv was right next to my computer so that I could watch a movie while chatting with my friends who were halfway across the world or my family back in Connecticut. I had a small bedside table with a lamp awkwardly tucked away in the corner beside my bed and the window. The black curtains were pulled closed to keep the evening sun from glaring off my computer screen.
Bing. My screen flashed at me as it notified me of several emails from a couple of friends and one from an unknown sender. I half smiled at my friends as I instantly messaged them back but stared at the unknown message. Deciding to ignore it, I checked facebook and played a few browser games while I watched my favourite show on the tv. After the show ended, I stretched and put my cup back into the kitchen then crawled into my bed.