I’m sound asleep at 5 a.m.
A few months ago that wouldn’t have been newsworthy. But I haven’t slept in a couple of days, so it’s a much needed respite. Which can mean only one thing.
The phone rings.
We don’t have a phone in the bedroom for reasons I sitll don’t fully understand, so as I hear the second ring begin, the race is on. I trip over the cat, who thinks we’re playing chase, encounter a table that decides inanimate objects should have the right of way, and pick up just as the answering machine kicks in.
Hello, I hear myself saying.
Is that you? asks a woman. Sounds like she’s in her 20s and crying.
In an early morning Tylenol PM haze, this is a tricky question. On the one hand, I am fairly certain this is me. There’s virtually nobody else I could be and I’m sure I could eventually find my driver’s license if needed. On the other hand, I’m equally certain I’m not the me she is seeking. How to respond?
I answer with the only thing I can think of. Uhhhhhhhhhh.
Oh, Eric, she sighs.
That’s my opening. I think you have the wrong number, I tell her.
Then, click, she just slams the phone. No apology, no reaction, just a dial tone.
I stare at the phone, then at the clock, then at the phone again. Normally I would be mad, but all I’m feeling now is overwhelming relief. This could be worse. Much worse.
I could be Eric.