I buried my face in the pillows on my bed. I remembered the old church lady who told me “Do you want to know how to live alone through the holidays, to spend Christmas without any family?” and I had nodded, or maybe not, maybe I was just frightened and looked at her wide-eyed. “You pretend it’s just another day,” she said. “Do you know what I mean? Just another day, and don’t think about it at all, and it passes. It always passes. So don’t feel sorry for yourself.” I didn’t want to remember her, and lay there, face down on my bed. I sighed. I just need something to roll me out of this like a boulder. I mean I’m the boulder. Inertia. That’s the word.
My phone beeped. I haven’t paid my phone bill, I know. You bastards and minions of hell could have left me alone on Thanksgiving, I thought, but reached for it anyway, well-trained. There was a message from Shane, wishing me a happy Thanksgiving. I laughed at first, quickly, because I imagined him scrolling through the names in his phone, thinking Now who’s American here? I need to wish my American friends a Happy Thanksgiving. And the image of him being so assiduously polite and correct was amusing, and sweet, and – how did he get my number? I rolled over, onto my back, and the rest of the old lady’s words returned, only I wasn’t so afraid so I examined them a little: “And if you feel sorry for yourself remember there’s always someone who has got it worse than you, and if you can’t remember that then go volunteer at a soup kitchen you lazy bones.” And I smiled a little, and began shaking my limbs out, one by one.
And now I have his number, too.