Part II: Phone Call
The next few days went along well. History class assigned us to do an oral presentation on different social movements around the world. By the luck of the draw, I was assigned the american civil rights movement in teams. Naturally, I chose to team up with Sage.
“You sure you want to team up with me? This is all american history, I know nothing about it.” They chuckled.
“You’ll be fine, it is a research project after all. And I’m really knowledgeable about it, totally read a ton about it.”
I opted not to share that the reason why had been less because it was my people’s rights and more that I was a total Centurion fangirl and he’d been an active and vocal member of the american civil rights movement…
Once class was over, the two of us settled down in the sunroom to work on it along with some hot chocolate. We were about an hour into it when my phone rang.
“It’s mine.” I declared taking it out my pocket.
“With the drum and bass ringtone, I kind of figured.”
“I made it myself, y’know.”
“I knew it sounded familiar.” They said with a smile. In the past weeks,
I’d showed them my own work. In exchange, they showed me a melody they’d written on the piano; a soft and slow tune with a melancholic or nostalgic air to it. To say it had been beautiful was an understatement.
“I’ll be right back.”
I skipped out of the room and into the garden before picking up.
“Hey Al.” I heard Sheila say on the other side of the line.
“I’m calling because, well I miss you.”
“I miss you too.” I said, a sad smile forming on my lips. We’d never been this far apart since we’d been kids…
“Also, I’m really bored and thought I’d bug you for a while. What’s up on your end?”
“I was just hanging out with Sage.”
“That cute enby you sent me pics of?” She said. “I wasn’t interrupting anything, now was I?” She added, suggestively. Although Sheila generally identified as a lesbian, she was also open to femme-identifying non-binary folks like me.
“Yes, them…” I answered, feeling a little flustered. “And nothing’s going on, we were just listening to music while working on a history class presentation.”
“Such a shame, you don’t want to let someone else snatch them up before you, do you?”
“Allison, you let them poke around your noggins, don’t go pretending there ain’t something going on.”
Her words got stuck in my head, replaying for a moment. Was it just teasing or an actual encouragement? She and I weren’t officially a couple anymore, but we were something alright… Something undefined but in love regardless… Could she really be pushing me toward someone else?
“So anything going on with you?” I feebly asked, hoping to stir the conversation and my train of thoughts away from Sage and I.
“Just baby sitting for the evening. And by that I mean just watching silly stuff on youtube.”
“I know, right.”
As she said that, I heard some chatter in the background.
“Oh my god, Give me a minute—” There was more chatter. “Fine, you can have the phone.” I overheard her talking. “Your little brother wants to talk to you.” She then said to me.
“Alright.” I said with a chuckle. What was Tyrone doing there?
“I love you babe.” She said quickly.
“I love you too…” I muttered, feeling my chest tighten around my heart.
“Allison!” Tyrone said, having evidently wrestled Sheila’s phone away.
“Hey Ty. What are you doing at Sheila’s?”
“Dad dropped me here, said he had something to do tonight. He did it last week too. I think he’s seeing someone.”
“Any idea who that might be?”
“No… You don’t think he’s going to replace mom, do you?”
“Nobody can ever replace her, Tyrone.”
“But if dad’s seeing someone else…”
“Tyrone, love’s not a finite thing, you can love more than one person. Dad can find love again and still love mom with all his heart. It’s been over three years since mom passed and I know mom would never want him to spend his life alone, she’d want him to be happy.”
“I wish I could give you the biggest hug right now. You have no idea how much I miss you and dad.”
“I miss you too…. But it’s okay, we’ll see each other friday.”
I heard a scuffle through the phone. I tried to call out for an answer but got nothing for a solid minute except a weird buzzing for a second.
“It’s me again.” Sheila declared. “And I’m now sitting on the roof to keep a little someone away.”
“What was that about Friday?”
“Damn it…” She muttered. “There’s a surprise visit that we’re totally supposed to keep a secret coming up. Could you not tell anyone?”
“I guess I can do that. Does that mean you’ll be there too?”
“That’s a surprise too.”
“Well, I’ll look forward to being pleasantly surprised. I probably should go back and help Sage now.”
“You do that. Bye.”
I hung up and took a moment to compose myself. I missed everyone so much, I hadn’t seen them in nearly a month, only spoken to them on the phone a few times and texted back and forth.
“Everything alright?” Sage asked when I came back inside.
“Yeah, it is.” I lied.
The words I’d spoken to Tyrone came back to mind. ‘love’s not a finite thing, you can love more than one person.’ I’d meant it but maybe it was easier when both of them weren’t still there…