Amanda, Part 4

25 Apr

Mike answered. The roar of another party pulsed out of the phone. She jammed a finger into her other ear and shouted into her phone, and also into the empty street.

“Hello? Mike, Hello?”

“Amanda?” He was hard to hear over the party, but his voice sounded pleased. And confused. And embarrassed. She slowed down, trying to focus on what it meant. Elsewhere in Columbus, Mike Downey moved into a different room and closed the door. The noise diminished.

“Yeah, hi, it’s me. Um, happy new year!” She responded. The new year had been twenty seven minutes ago and counting. Still, she supposed, it was close enough. Probably. “What are you doing? Are you busy?”

He laughed. His voice sounded easier, pleased and more relaxed. “Well, there’s this party. But I can talk.”

“I’ve missed you,” Amanda said. This was not strictly true, but as fabrications go, it was not egregious. She missed having sex with him. Well, really, she missed having sex. Her eyes closed, and a flash of all the potential sex she’d recently passed up for Johnny passed behind her eyes, followed by a flash of Johnny’s stupid grin. Last month, Liz had invited her to come and play naked games with her and whoever Liz’s current arm candy had been. Then, as now, the memory of Johnny’s face had been unavoidable. She bit her tongue. “What are you doing now? Can you come pick me up?” Somewhere, a part of her that was sober, warm, and sexually fulfilled screamed at her to stop.

“Well,” Mike began, and then the thudding bass of the party returned for a moment, swallowing whatever it was he had begun to say. The sound faded, replaced by a faint but clearly audible female voice. Oh, Amanda thought. Of course.

“Oh, there you are,” Amanda heard someone say. “I wondered what happened to you. Don’t be too long, okay?” Mike’s voice responded, muffled now by what was undoubtedly his palm over the mouthpiece. The noise of the party swelled again and receded.

Mike returned. “You know, I’d love to, but I don’t think I should drive anywhere just now. Are you busy later in the week? Maybe—”

Amanda scrubbed her fingerless gloves over her phone. “What was that?” She said. “I think the reception’s bad. What did you—” She snapped the phone shut and jammed it into her pocket. She walked, waiting for it to buzz again with Mike’s number. It refused.

Her house was dark. Neither of her roommates seemed to be home, but Grim and Bruce Wayne waited for her just inside the doorway.

Grim was an aging black lab. Bruce Wayne was a neurotic rat terrier. He yipped and ran off into the unlit house, his nails scrabbling excitedly up the wooden stairs. Grim came slowly forward and nuzzled Amanda’s hand. “Hey buddy,” she told him. Absently, she checked the time on her phone. It was late, and it didn’t matter. No one would be coming home that night but her. She walked to the back of the house and up the stairs, flipping through the history on her phone, pausing slightly to linger over this number or that one. Somehow her hands were full of beer and cigarettes.

She leaned out the window of her bedroom, resting her elbows on the roof. She blew tobacco smoke out over the street below and, she hoped, away from the house, where, by unanimous agreement of the roommates, there was to be no smoking indoors. Each of them, however, knew the quickest and most efficient way to remove the screens from their bedroom windows. It was not a topic of discussion.

Later, there would be cookie dough squares. Later than that, she would fall asleep on the couch while spooning Grim, watching Elf, and hating Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel just the tiniest little bit. Later still, she’d have to stop by Johnny’s and drop off all the shit he’d left in her room. But for the moment, she drank, tipping herself back off the edge of sobriety where she’d arrived after the long walk home, and, smoking, she listened to people stumble and laugh home from the bars.



Leave a Reply


  1. *L*

    April 29, 2011 at 11:33 am

    Oh man, I can relate to nights like that. Unsatisfying, dignity-crushing drunk dials only to end up watching movies with my dog. It’s nice to know I wasn’t the only one this could happen to.

    I hope her dogs peed on Johnny’s stuff before he got it back.

  2. Dan

    May 16, 2011 at 11:46 pm

    Oh yeah, that sort of thing happened to Amanda all the time. For a time, it was our bond . . . We’d tell each other our awful dating stories. She was one of the people who suggested I start this blog, actually.

    I’m not sure whether Johnny’s stuff met with dog urine or not. You’re right, though. It would have been wholly deserved.

    By the way, sorry I’ve been incommunicado for the last whenever. I was at the bottom of a self-absorption well. Maybe I’m better? It’s hard to tell.