Sunday, August 18, 2013
Just A Cup Of Coffee
He reached for the phone, his eyes squinting to read the clock. 12:45. AM. He made a quick mental note of all the people who might call at this hour; his mom about his dad, his dad about his mom. His brother about their parents. He pulled the phone to his ear, prepared for the worst.
"Hi. I'm sorry to call so late."
His eyes opened wide as he heard her voice. She was the last person he expected to be on the other end. He sat up slightly, clearing his throat of sleep.
"No it's OK. Are you all right?"
He heard her voice catch a little, which made him sit up even more. She was a woman who wouldn't even let him buy her coffee at work in the morning. She was always polite about it, saying she didn't like coffee, but it always made him feel annoyed. It was just a cup of coffee. Her rejection was habitual And hurtful.
"Um, no. I was coming back from work and I got hit by another car. I'm sitting in the emergency room."
He heard her struggle to maintain her composure and fail. He could tell she was distraught, heard her try to regulate her breathing. He turned on the light and got out of bed, grabbing a pair of jeans and a t-shirt from the dresser, trying to balance the phone between his ear and shoulder as he pulled on socks and shoes. He picked up his keys and was all ready out the door by the time she was able to speak again.
"I'm banged up a bit, nothing's broken, but my car is totaled, and I need a ride home, so I was wondering if you could come pick me up?"
He was behind the wheel of his car, putting his blue tooth into his ear and turning on the engine before she had finished her sentence.
"Princeton-Plainsboro. It's on Route 1; they moved it, it's no longer in Princeton."
"I know where it is. I'll be there in 20 minutes. Are you going to be OK?"
Again her heard her voice catch as she took in a deep breath. She sounded so young and vulnerable.
"Yea, I'll be fine. Thank you, I really appreciate this."
He smiled. It felt good be needed. He turned the radio on as he pulled onto the street.
"Sit tight. I'm on my way."
"Thanks. I guess I owe you a cup of coffee."
The call ended. He turned the radio up, and sang all the way to the hospital.