Sunday, June 18, 2017

A Line in the Sand

The phone chirped.

I'd never been one for strong decisions; especially when compelled. Often, I'd get exasperated and let things run their course, finding the decision eventually made for me. I could trace a path, from my childhood to my adult life, following choice after choice that was laid before me. I accepted the choice that was given.

No. Accepted is too strong a word. I allowed it. Allowed then let the wave of subsequent events roll over me. I may have tumbled for a bit, but then caught hold and held firm, neither progressing nor falling back.

It chirped a second time and I grimaced, glancing at the screen where the words "Unknown Number" burned in bold white letters.

My palms sweat. I gripped the phone and pawed at my face with my free hand, anxiety was getting the better of me. Another wave was coming; palpable and undeniable.

I'd heard it said many times: Not making a decision is still a decision.

Guilt for what I hadn't done was always there, the constant passenger, with eyes downcast and head shaking. I looked through the car window where the warm sunset sat on the horizon, forever away. The air conditioning couldn't push back the feverish ache now throbbing at my temples.

The cheap, pay-as-you-go phone chirped for a third time. I jumped as the phone buzzed forcefully in my white knuckled grip.

I shuddered, feeling walls break down inside of me. I swallowed, pushing back my entire history of indecision, and thumbed the screen. I lifted the phone to my ear to listen, but then rushed to speak, my words spilling out.

"I'll do what you want. Please, don't hurt her."