One day please not heavy with family. He walks the road to the phone to call them. He dials the number and hopes for no answer. They pick up and say hello. They ask for his voice to say the hello back. They make him repeat them. He gives the phone a yeah, then a yeah, a no, then a can I talk to Mom. His sister yells for his Dad and hands the phone to his Mom. Mom closes her eyes, she puts it to her face, holds it with both her hands like he’ll disappear if she drops it. Her voice in it makes him unopen. She asks what he eats, who are his neighbors and do they sit at the window. Does he at least have curtains? He says fine and he says fine and he says yes and no and I've never met them, one of them is young. The other one, he never leaves. His sisters and his dad he knows are fine. If the mind is a terror gift, he is an opener. Mom talks of how she's quitting minding. His dad never sees. He pictures. Mom's the one though, not Dad. She made the let for him to get out. He does not convince himself that things have not gotten better. She's saying something when he drops the receiver, lets it hang like fruit. She is just into the big news when he checks for change in the little silver swing door that makes that sound, fingers a wad of gum in there, then steps out of the booth. He can hear her voice filling the box. He leans back, pulls the door shut, but can hear her voice clearer now, louder now. She says she hopes his brother gets out soon. He hopes for things that don’t involve his brother. She fills the box saying he looks good and he has his old confidence. At that he leaves. He’s kicking a flattened can down the street towards the building where his room is in the basement. He wants a voice from the other way from home.
Giancarlo DiTrapano lives in New York City.