He calls at midnight, half asleep. They just woke me up and brought me out here to this cage. I’m sorry, I’m not all the way awake. I’m half asleep myself.
My idea of this cage is hazy. Whenever he calls, it’s always from this cage. Different from the cell where they keep him, alone. He says it’s a cage within a cage, and from there he can see more cages, and that once he’s there they leave him in it til whenever, even if he’s done making calls. In the winter it’s cold.
He says, you know, it’s fucked up, they got murderers, pedophiles in here getting more mail and more visits than me. He’s mad. I’m mad, he says.
You know, I say, I used to write you every week.
You know, he says, I was getting high in there. Back then.
It’s like when you snap a glow stick and the warm light flows in, except it’s as big as the sky or something. A small wet snap inside me. What is it that has broken? I thought there was nothing left in there, after all this time.
Learning of this lie cracks something open and all the years I waited are lit up with how I wasted them. The dollars, time, ink, paper, stamps. Words. Devotion. All lit up with the glow of whatever it is that has broken.
Blank texts, I’m sorry for saying that terrible thing. How that’s not the person he wants to be. But he still doesn’t see how the worst of it is the way he refused to apologize for it in the first place. How each injury was compounded by him insisting it didn’t, shouldn’t, couldn’t hurt me.
A small wet snap in my center. I would think it sounds like a finger or small bone breaking, but in the book I’m reading a man has broken the hand of a woman and it makes no sound, surprising him with its easy silence.
I hang up and he calls back again and again until I answer. I’m sorry, Rabbit. I’m sorry.
And I paid for it, I say. My voice is hollow.
Blank thinks I’ve missed the point of his apology.
I want to say, I’m sorry for all the things that have broken us; I’m sorry for the cages you call me from; I’m sorry I can’t feel sorry anymore.
I think sorry is what has snapped inside me, and now it’s a word that will never work again. So. I don’t say anything.