She calls me from inside a closet. Only within the confines of this dark, hidden space is she able to truly open up. Let loose. Express her feelings.
Which, at the moment, are a toxic blend of exhaustion and devastation. With some regret thrown in the mix.
I collapse onto my leopard-print bedspread and listen. Eventually, my eyes fill with tears. I'd hoped to avoid this type of unwanted waterfall, yet I can't stop it any more than the lady on the other end of the phone can stop her life from unraveling.
"Thirty-three years..." she murmurs.
I exhale slowly.
Lyrics flash across my mind: take these broken wings and learn to fly. Sometimes the music playing in my head is random, but other times it's eerily appropriate.
Tonight, the soundtrack and the featured film align perfectly.
"You are strong," I assure her. Although her wings are bent, she was born to fly. That much is clear.
She sighs, then tells me I am an angel.
This makes me laugh. I misplaced my halo several years ago. In my younger days, all major decisions were made with care and concern. Now, I sometimes choose the path of greatest destruction...almost without remorse.
"Hardly!" I respond. "I'm just a girl who cares about you and refuses to let you go through this alone."
She continues talking, her sweet Southern accent pouring through the phone. I roll over on my bed, wondering why life is so cruel to those who don't deserve it.
When we hang up an hour later, "Blackbird" is still floating through my mind. I want to take a paintbrush and splash the words across my wall. Or a nearby basketball court. Or perhaps the brick facade of this apartment building.
I promise myself I will call her tomorrow. And the next day, and the one after that.
I'll keep calling until she learns to navigate the skies with a new set of wings. And a singing voice loud enough, lovely enough to be heard even as she soars toward the sun.