As the phone screamed into the night, his legs swung back and forth in perfect time with each ring, as if his body were dancing to it. He danced in death how he always had in life—to the beat of somebody else’s song, and even though the resounding kick of the stool changed the song, his dance remained the same.
The ringing ceased, and his legs slowed. A click of the answering machine signaled the end of the music.
“Hey, it’s Paul. I’m all tied up right now—leave a message, please. Thanks.”
“Hey, baby, I just got your message. I’m coming home right now. Look, I don’t care what these people say about you. I know you better than anybody. We’ll get through this. Don’t worry about what they think. Live for yourself—for us. I never needed that house or this car or any of that extra money. I’d live in a tin can for you. I just wish I could tell you that before this all started. Listen—I’ll be right there, okay? I love you. Bye.”