It was a wrong number that started it, a man speaking as though from the bottom of a cave or a volcano, asking for him by name, his full name, but it wasn’t the right person, just the same name, and the man, from wherever he was deep at the bottom of a well or in a submarine, said with tenderness, sadness, and regret, I’m sorry Damian, I’m sorry Mr Kelleher, but your wife has died, she is here at the hospital and can you come immediately.
But it wasn’t him, and more importantly it wasn’t her. He hung up the phone, shocked, numb, unable to think or feel, his vision came and then went, whitening around the edges and removing first his peripheral vision, and then his vision entirely, until all he could see was whiteness, nothingness, and still he hadn’t felt a thing, just lost his vision, but then it came back and the world seemed sharper, in greater focus, and then suddenly his knees became weak, buckled, he caught himself and remained somehow standing, his mouth became dry and then filled with saliva, and then it became dry again, and just as his vision threatened to leave him once more his phone, which seemed to him now a poisonous thing, hateful, his phone began to ring, the name displayed was hers, but how could it be her if she was dead, but it was her, her name was right there, and as he answered he expected it was a doctor or a nurse or an official of some kind, some tactless bureaucrat who had, unthinkingly, used his wife’s phone to contact him and not a hospital phone, but not, it was her, really her, her voice came across clear and calm and warm and she started to ask him how he was when he said, in a rush, but how are you calling me, how is this possible, I was just told you were dead.
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The above piece of writing comprises part of my fragments project, some of which are available on this website. I intend to add new fragments piecemeal, not in any particular order, and as the occasion take me.