My hand trembles intemperately as I reach for the electrical implement. I have the number written on a piece of paper by my bedside - waiting. They're always waiting, you see. Can't they discern the fact that I have nothing to give anymore? I'm drained, emotionally and physically. There's nothing left.
In one swift movement, I pick up the phone. My thumb hovers over the first digit.
I should get help. I can't do this alone.
No, no, I can't call the police. I'm too involved now. I'd come out worse. They could take away my one shot at freedom.
My fingers instinctively dial a number; a number I know by heart now, though I've never had the fortitude to ring it. I've always thought nobody can help improve my wayward state of living. That is, of course, if you can even call this living.
"Hello?" Her voice is soft, though it still echoes in this vast, empty space. I take a deep breath.
"Hi." In contrast, my voice is small and hoarse, due to the fact I haven't spoken to anyone for a few days now. I even stopped talking to myself after a few, prolonged weeks.
"How are you?" she asks. Her articulation is calming and smooth, not involuntarily cracked and gravelly like mine.
"I'm, uh, well... Not so good." I bite my lip. Don't scare her away. Be careful. She sounds nice.
"Well, I'm not so good either. My nephew has just learned how to talk and he won't shut up!" She offers a cute laugh, and I can't help but crack a small smile.
"I'm a mess," I admit.
She reasons, "Aren't we all?"
I sigh. "No, no we're not. Everyone expects you to be perfect. They all want you to be something you're not. Some people can live up to the standards, but I fell. I fell down the hole before I could grasp onto the edges. I slipped up once and now it never ceases to hit me at full force whenever I consider being, well, normal. I'm scared to move - scared they'll come. They're always coming, you see," I utter the well-rehearsed speech with a newly-found confidence.
"No, I'm afraid I don't see. Who are 'they'? Is someone threatening you?" Frantic with worry, her speech is rushed and littered with questions. I let out a humourless laugh that one might have mistaken to be malignant or sadistic.
"You wouldn't understand." I shake my head, though there is nobody there to see except my sordid reflection in the polished walls.
"Oh. I'd like to understand, though. I never did catch your name, did I?"
"I didn't throw it." She chuckles at my pathetic attempt at a joke. I smile.
"Well, you can call me Andrea, if you like. You don't have to tell me your name."
"Now, would you like to tell me how you got into this adversity?"
"Well... It all started on my boyfriend's 19th birthday..."