Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Prompt #3 - Ships

Prompt 3: Ships

Micah doesn’t call from the flight home after an assignment. He wants to surprise his wife and daughter. Throughout the debriefing, he keeps an image in his head: Jenna’s surprised smile and Callie’s welcoming eyes. There’s a pep in his step when he pushes open the door and greets his girls.

Except the house is empty. Frantic, he dials Callie’s cell. His grip on the phone leaves his knuckles white as his mind races through the possibilities.

“Where are you?”

Callie pauses and, in direct contrast to her warm greeting, responds with a voice icy as Antarctica. “South Padre. Jenna and I always spend a month here in the summer.”

“I’m home.”

“You really should have called, Micah. We just left this morning.” Another pause and the faint drumming of fingernails on a table. “You’re welcome to join us, of course.”

It’s not the same. This isn’t how he imagined it at all. “Callie – .”

“Cal! Come swimming with me!”

“I’ll call you later, Micah. Jenna’s waiting.”

Micah’s left in an empty kitchen with the dial tone buzzing in his ear and the shattered remains of his idealized reunion at his feet. He never again comes home without calling first.

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