A Night Call
It was nearly 2:00 AM. I was sitting in the bedroom at my small desk, reading G. Willow Wilson's Cairo in the summer heat, windows open, the soft sounds of the street outside filling the room. The phone rang. I glanced at the caller ID. Private number. I picked the phone up and said hello.
It was a womans voice, a stranger, soft tones, uncertain accent. She started to talk. I should have stopped her. I started to several times and stopped each time. In her quiet voice in the dark of the night she told me a story. A story of want and need. A story of distance and closeness. A story of the twilight gods, whom I have loved and served for many years. She whispered the urgent parts, her voice falling so that I strained to hear each word. Her voice rose with her passion. Her voice fell with her pain. She unspun a tapestry, pulled each thread apart, sorted them by color, and wove them together again into brilliantly beautiful shards of cloth. The purity of primary colors. Black. Green. White. Blue.
I leaned back in my chair and listened to the confidence in her voice, I was swallowed in the uncertainty, I was stilled by the depth and I was moved by the currents. I thought of others. I thought of my beloved Crow, who taught me the twin lessons of love and hate. I thought of Jaybird, whose was my raucous companion. I thought of my morning dove, whose embrace I still think of, so pure a joining of souls was it. I thought of Magpie, who battered me and badgered me and kept me moving when I wanted to just quit. I thought of the Eagle and the Hawk and the Sparrow and the Owl. I thought of all the others who touched me, whose names I will not invoke.
She, the stranger, had this wonderful lilt in her voice, it would rise up unbidden, take a dark tale and twist it into the light, take a tangled skein and straighten it, draw it cleanly and purely, and then plunge in back into blackness. She left me breathless and empty with her tale and with the untold tales that wove around the narrative of it. She was in that moment the purity of the muse. She was the eternity of the tale. She weaved patterns with her bright cloth, ending with blue. Then her voice fell into silence. I could hear her breathing.
Say nothing. She said. Say nothing. I knew you were a stranger the moment you answered, but, you listened beautifully. Next time I call, I will want one of your stories. A tale to be told to a stranger. Goodnight. I love you.