I sat alone in the darkness of my booth on a three-legged stool. A sliver of light slipped under the pressboard door. The faint outline of a flesh colored phone on the wall appeared to my left. In front of me was a thick wall of Plexiglas. Beyond it was a black hole, a place where all my dreams sought their vortex of deliverance.
A dark velvet curtain parted in front of my face, revealing a slender girl pretending to be happy that she was on a stage for my fantasies. A single yellow bulb transformed the pit she was in to a stage for my audience only.
She looked through me, shredding my soul with her diamond blue eyes. Her hair, the color of gold danced on her polished shoulders. Her vanilla face appeared soft and supple.
She turned away as if miles stretched between us.
Then I realized she couldn't see me at all.
My heart flopped inside as if it were starved for oxygen.
She turned and pointed to her phone, expecting me to pick up mine.
I paused, frozen in time.
She picked up her phone and carefully untied the ribbons of her red silk dress, allowing it to slip to the floor without a whisper.
I spun from her small jutting breast, awkwardly grasping toward the cradle of my phone. The receiver crashed to the cold-dank floor.
She winced from the screeching noise the receiver made in her ear. Obvious pain gouged her face.
I lunged for the phone as it echoed off the walls. "Please, no! Please put the dress on."
She looked bewildered but complied with my request. And with ease, she let the dress parachute over her shoulders.
"I only want to talk."
She smiled nervously. "My name is Crystal. What would you like me to do sweetie?"
"Do you remember the name I gave you?"
Her face drained, bleached white beneath the light.
"Remember when I used to call you Pooker?"
She bit on her lip until blood trickled.
"Remember? We called you Pooker, when you were a little girl because you pretended to hide from the fingers in front of my eyes. And I would spread my fingers and say, 'I See YOU!'"
A hard-boiled tear formed from her left eye. It slipped down her face turning her mascara into watercolor on her cheek. She said nothing, but shook with a slow tremor erupting into her hands. The phone was slipping from her grasp.
I felt my tears like acid scorching my skin. "I've looked for you all these years. Your mother told me you were dead. At first I believed her, but something inside of me wouldn't let you go. You were always the little girl in my dreams. The one I used to push on the backyard swing or throw into a pile of leaves, the one who I used throw up in the air until you laughed and giggled into an endless sky."
Her shoulders stiffened. Her head shook back and forth as if to say no.
"I should have never left you, when you needed me the most. I know you felt abandoned. Please. I'm begging you. Give me a second chance. I...I can help..."
Her receiver crashed to the floor. The cord twisted at her feet. The curtain closed like it was made of iron.
I fell from the stool and dropped to my knees.
A savage beating on the door let me know I had to leave. I wobbled past the books and videos of flesh, stumbling through the door into the bright but cold sun. A knot drove up my throat, until I swallowed.
I heard the back door crash open and the sound of someone running on shards of broken glass.
A voice rang out. "Daddy! Wait!"
Afraid to look, I slowly turned toward the sounds. Hands in front of my face, I spread my fingers apart. My baby, my child was running toward me with open arms.
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