“I’m calling it in.”
I held the phone in my hands, dully, as if this was some sort of dream that I’d wake up from if I just became self-aware.
It wasn’t that it was a dream come true or anything like that. Or a nightmare either. It was just one of those lines that you’d expect your subconscious to unearth in a dream — something that had a lot of meaning a long time ago.
“You still there?”
“Oh. Yeah. Sorry.”
“Well, what do you think?”
His voice was exceptionally familiar, like you’d expect family to be, which made sense given that we’d been virtually family as children. Having spent our childhood in the same neighborhood, knocking on doors had been courtesy, not a formality. If no one answered we’d walk in and pour a glass of ice tea, and see if someone was in the backyard.
Of course, over the years we’d lost that. I went off to college, he’d gotten into West Point. We’d kept in touch, but increasingly only in the loosest sense of the word. Phone calls a couple of times a year. The retelling of canonized stories of our childhood. Occasionally a roadtrip or a few days vacation. The typical things for childhood best friends.
I turned over the next words in my mouth, conscious both of how easy it was to fall into old speech patterns and also how non-committal those words actually were.
“Back up. Back up. It sounds like you owe me a story.”
“Yeah, you’re right man.”