The darkness never sleeps, and life continues to ring along the line.
Along The Line
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
The darkness never sleeps. Patterns of moonlight invade its space, trying to give a sense of peace and quiet, but sleep is raw. Tossing and turning destroy the bed, and the darkness watches every single move the sleeper makes. And hours slowly drift by, and nothing changes. The dark will always be there, my friend, and it will always be my keeper.
And as the darkness continues to hang over me like the covers over my head, I could hear the phone ringing down the hallway. Chills race through my body, and fear is screaming over silence. The phone is ringing, and my skin is showered in sweat. Any phone call at this hour is never a call that you would want to take, and that is why I took the phone out of my bedroom. I feared this night would come, and it is here. And the phone continues to ring.
If I wasn't alone, I could imagine someone shouting for the call to be answered. Their yells would echo down empty corridors, spaces for children to play in, but there was no happiness here. Solitude shared my confines with the darkness, and only one phone was allowed to stay. And now it calls my name, and it demands to be answered. But I can't.
Frozen in fear, all I could do is lie in silence, count the rings, and hope that the caller would give up in the end, and for a long moment, I was almost right. And then the ringing began again, and even the darkness seemed to nudge me to answer it. But I don't want to know why.
This past year seemed surrounded in death. Friends and family members quickly left my side, and conversations once so alive are now nothing but hollow memories. And at funerals, we could hardly share a glance let alone a word or two, and they have forgotten me. And I have never forgotten them, and they are the ghosts that haunt me here.
It's been years since I left this house. Did anyone know I was here? Did anyone care? There were days, where I never left the bed, and would they come to tell me to get up, to tell me that there was still life to live? Did they care, and if they did, where the hell have they been all this time? And why should I care to know why they are calling me now?
The phone has stopped, but the darkness now talks. Endless whispers echo deep into my ears. Words I don't want to hear and arguments that never had an ending, and I don't want to care anymore. All I want is to stay here, under the darkness, and safe behind the walls that I have built up over time. I don't want to care, but the truth is that I do. And I never stopped no matter how hard I try to bury the fact.
And now the ringing is heard. Once again, its tone dances down the hallways that should have held photographs of the best moments of my life, but there is only one picture on one wall near my room. It is a beautiful display of the ocean, and who needs a seashell to hear its roar when you could visualize it in color? It is the only thing that keeps me sane, and when I do venture out of this room, I could stand before it for hours. That is how I lived my life over this last year, and nobody has come looking for me, nobody until now.
Maybe I should answer the phone. Maybe someone else died. Maybe it was good news. Was that possible at three a.m.? Was there a reason for the call?
My body aches. I have lied in this bed so long that the mattress holds my impression, and my feet are alien to a cold, wooden floor. But I try to walk, fumble in the darkness, and try to find a door that has kept me locked in for so long. And now the door is open, but I cannot hear the phone anymore.
Did I miss my chance? A chance to connect to the world, to know what life exists outside my walls? Did someone care enough to call? Did they think I was gone? Am I ghost that haunts this place, and are all the nights spent tossing and turning my punishment for pushing away everything that made me who I was?
The stairs appear in a mist of moonlight. Dark steps lead down an endless spiral I fear to climb. Wooden rails meet my hand. Slowly, I walk down, trying not to lose my balance, and the darkness watches. It is always watching, waiting, and now the phone rings again.