The Phone Rings

Eighth: You learn that there is a difference between heartbreak and disappointment. This is a disappointment. That’s all. Two months is only a blink. And what grand news! This time, instead of throwing yourself in, full heart and all, you took your time. Less damage in the end. You start to feel like an economist.

Ninth: You still fall asleep with one ear to the phone. So when it rings at 12:30 a.m. you are somehow not surprised, but still, startled from sleep.

“Hello?” I say.

“Katey Schultz! I love you! I LOVE YOU!”

For a moment, I search for my breath. The room is pitch black, my heart pounds in my ears, I hold the phone tightly. Then I realize:

“Hi, Cam,” I say.

“Schultzy, listen to me. This guy’s a punk if he forgot how to have a relationship. I mean, it wasn’t meant to be—”

“I love you too, Cam.”

“—And besides,” he continues, “You’re a good woman. So don’t feel down about this, ok? I mean, just don’t go there because you’re effing awesome and that’s what counts.”

“Thanks Cam.” I say. (I had left a message on his cell earlier that night, just calling to check in. He must have sensed something in my tone…)

“And I know I’m probably waking you up in the middle of the night but you had to know this. You can’t just go to sleep feeling sad. You can’t be down about this. Just rock on, woman, I love you. You’re a good person and that matters.”

“It’s better this way. Not a full heartbreak. Just a disappointment,” I say, reaching for the light switch. “Even though there’s no one else to date. I mean, no one. There are only four single men on the entire campus of the craft school. And they’re friends, and I like it that way.”

“Schultzy, you’ll probably meet someone at the residency we’ll be at in January. You’ll probably fall in love, Schultzy.” Cam says, and oh, the Colorado poet emerges yet again.

“I tried that once. Remember? I did fall in love last January.”

“Yeah, she was doing crack. No, for reals, you’ll find someone,” he says.

“Maybe Cam, maybe.”

[Now that’sone hell of a good friend.]

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