What He Knows

The phone rings, and my hands pause above my keyboard as I wait to see if she will answer it. It is after 10:00, after the hour when people know they can call us without worrying if they are bothering us, it is the hour where, if the phone rings we are annoyed at the caller’s gall or hold our breath because we know that it means that someone is dead. And at once I know that it’s not the annoying call, I know it’s the other one, but I put my fingers back onto the keys and continue my typing, continue the clack tap clack tap that is as comforting as the tick tock of the bedside clock, and I wait. I wait in my activity, I wait, and as the words come across the page, as they fly zoom zip zam zoom zow across the page, as my mind is engaged in making sure they come to life, I know that someone has come to the end of his. And I know that he is dead. It’s only a matter of time until she hands me the phone and it is confirmed. It is only as long as it takes my mother to tell my wife that my father died not half an hour ago, that she found him in the darkened den, his head off to one side the way he always fell asleep but this time there was no snore and that’s how she knew he was dead. It is only as long as it takes my mother to tell my wife about my father, and I know then that it will not just be a story in my head, it will be a story filling my head from the outside, not from the inside and not from my fingertips and not from my imagination that whirs and spins and doesn’t shut up every night as I worry about the eventual demise of my parents. Now it doesn’t shut up. It shouts blinding words into my ears, deafening words into my eyes. That time is here.