“Quentin,” said the caller.
“I’ve thought about you,” he offered along with a sigh.
No response, save for the hiss of copper wires.
Quentin imagined other reflexive words.
But she interrupted, saying, “Well" and he heard the phone moving in her hand. “That’s good to hear, Quentin. That you think of me.”
Which was a very small thing to do, the weight of a few electrons passing down white ropes of fat and water.
He was defensive, edgy, and in the next moment, bored.
“I’m traveling, Quentin. This is a long distance call.”
“Where are you?”
She didn’t respond.
“No.” She seemed to laugh. “I haven’t gone quite that far.”
Yet her voice might have come from the moon, it was so crackly and weak.
“Time with friends,” she claimed.
“Good,” seemed like the perfect word.
She didn’t talk.
“Good,” he repeated.
And she spoke but the word was twisted by random fluctuations in the connection, stripping away meanings.
“What should I do?”
“I don’t…” she began.
He heard crying, or thought he did.
“I’ll be gone several weeks. A necessary break from school, and personal matters.” Quentin imagined someone standing beside her, listening to her side of the conversation. Then Farah returned with a calm, knowing voice. “I’ve applied for a stay.”
“A delay with Immigration,” she explained. “Our meeting next month? It’s on hold. I‘ve made the arrangements.”
Quentin had barely considered that burden, and now it was gone, leaving him lighter, selfish and happy.
“I’ve taken the necessary steps,” she promised.
“Is there some number where I can reach you? An address?”
“No,” she said. But maybe that was too abrupt. “We’re visiting others, but there are no concrete plans.”
“Take care of yourself, Farah.”
And she laughed, saying, “Which sounds so easy. Doesn’t it?”