There is a snowstorm the day he calls me from Vegas. There are stuck cars and accidents everywhere, and I white-knuckle the drive into work, easing my wheels past the slippage. When the phone rings while I am at my desk, I choose for once not to answer. Outside, the still falling snow makes even the familiar unfamiliar and I think it echoes something inside me, something I haven’t yet given a voice. All told, that day I spend more than three hours in the car and when I am finally home and have eaten dinner, I go to bed early. When, after midnight, he starts texting me, it jolts me from sleep. I know he’s been drinking and I don’t answer then either. Nothing good will come from it.
He’s worried, he writes. Why haven’t I responded, he writes.
Because it’s been less than twelve hours since you called, I want to write. Because why is it me you are drunk dialing this time and the time before that. Because I’m not yours, I want to write, and so I don’t owe you anything. Because I don’t want to eat breakfast across from you anymore. Because I don’t want you to watch me brush my hair out at night in a bathroom and tell me how nice it looks. Because you want things from me but don’t want to offer anything equal in turn. Because I want something safe, some kind of genuine friendship, and this isn’t anything safe, and of the two of us, I’m the one who is going to get hurt. I’m getting hurt.
Outside, the snow, no longer falling, lays still on the patio and road in front of my house. It is lovely and perfect, and I sit for hours watching it and the moon. I think there is some kind of choice here, but it is one I’m not yet ready to make.
Call the girl you are dating instead, I write, but delete before sending.
In the morning, I will figure out what to say. For now, every part of me is too tired for words, maybe my heart most of all. There is snow everywhere and this is all I want to think about, the snow, how it heaps in near boulders, how it sparkles in moonlight, how faint drifts of it fan across the lawn with the breeze, how it swirls and eddies. There is snow everywhere and I’m tired, I’m just so tired. There is snow everywhere and so I turn the phone to silent, put it face down on the nightstand beside me, and just go to sleep.