Carey sat alone in his room, his feet propped across the corner of his uninhabited desk. The smoke from his pipe cascaded across the walls. With each breath he took, a small wheeze came from the back of this throat as though there just wasn’t enough room for both the smoke and the air. The eight by ten piece of paper hung limp in his hand while his eyes stayed glued to his shoes.
The phone rang. His skinny body shifted at the sound, though not enough to remove his feet from his desk. Leaning backwards, he reached for the phone and answered.
“Yes.” The pipe in his mouth made it sound more like ‘yesh’.
“Carey?” The man on the other end said startled.
“Oh. I didn’t expect you to be there.” The man forced a chuckle. “But I’m glad you are of course.”
“Sure.” Carey moved the phone to cradle between his head and his shoulder. He used his free hand to pick his fingernails.
“It’s just. Well. How you doing buddy?” Another forced chuckled tickled it’s way through the phone line.
Carey picked out a piece of dirt from his thumb nail before responding. “Just fine. You?”
“Good. Good.” The phone went silent, then, “Fine, really. I’m fine.”
Carey nodded to nobody. A singular moment passed before the man spoke again, “You want me to come over or anything? I could bring you something. Tammy’s made meatloaf. I could bring you some meatloaf if you’d like.”
Carey nodded again. He brought the piece of paper up to scan over once more. The writing was plain, simple, times new roman. The little hospice graphic on the top stood out because of it’s red color; everything else was in black. “No, I don’t think that’s necessary.”
The phone went silent again. A small red robin hopped it’s way across the window sill. Carey couldn’t see it, his chair sat away from the window. The only source of light in the room emanated from the window – dusk began to fall.
“I’m just sayin’, you know, if you need a friend and all.”
“Sure.” Adjusting the pipe in his mouth, Carey shifted in his seat just enough to put the hospice’s letter on the desk. “I apptheciate it.”
Staring at the letter for just another second, Carey suddenly turned to sit upright. He pulled the chair in, keeping the phone cradled against his cheek. With both hands he smoothed out the letter.
“Tammy wants to know if you need anything – she’s going to the store, she could pick you up something – hotdogs, or detergent, or something.”
“Sure.” Carey read the short letter three times as he answered.
“Sure?” The man’s voice lilted, “Sure. Good. I’ll send her over – what do you need?”
The robin whistled four notes then hopped the other way across the window sill.
“Nothing. Don’t worry about it.”
“Oh. Never mind, Tams!” The man yelled through the phone.
Carey sat still, his arms leaning against his desk, making little indents in his skin. “One thing.”
“What’s that, Carey?”
“It’s not forever.”
The little robin whistled his four note tune once more before flying over to the tree. Carey looked to his window. He smiled.
“Carey, you’re going to the hospice – there’s a reason you’re going.”
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