Sheila woke to the sound of the phone ringing in the forgotten hours of the night. The shrilling noise rudely disrupted her peaceful slumber. After the initial anger had passed, Sheila was left feeling confused. With each passing second, the urgent sound of the ringing phone unnerved her.
She reduced the brightness from her phone, which was irritating her eyes, and she looked at the time displayed at the top of the screen. 3:02 am. Who could be so persistent on calling at such an unusual time of the night?
She couldn't identify the individual, as they were hiding their number. On the off chance that she would get a private number calling her, she was advised to ignore these calls, as they were usually pranksters messing around. However, something made her answer the call. Perhaps, as she felt frustrated from her sleep being disturbed, she wanted to give the caller a piece of her mind.
When she answered the call, there was a moment of silence. Sheila could hear something moving on the line.
"Hello?" She said, rubbing her eyes sleepily.
There was no reply.
"Hello?" She repeated, groggily. "Are you there?"
Still, there was no reply. She could hear faint breathing on the other end. Someone was definitely there, listening to her, but they were choosing to stay quiet for some reason.
"What do you want?" Sheila asked, trying to mask the fear in her voice.
This question seemed to elicit some type of response. The caller's breathing was getting louder, frantic, and heavier - as if they were running a mile. The sudden change of pace made Sheila's stomach twist with anxiety.
Was this a prank caller trying to recreate a horror movie scene? Were they getting some strange pleasure out of this? Did they think this was funny? Those questions ran through her mind. Whatever the reason may be, she was afraid of the unpredictability of the unknown.
Just as she was about to end the call, something caught her attention.
It was, unmistakably, a male voice.
The girl froze. "Who... is this?"
Again, no reply. Just his erratic breathing that was tickling her eardrums.
"Hi?" Sheila said, sounding less confident. "Can you hear me?"
His voice was rough and harsh, as if he'd been crying.
"Fuck you, fuck you, fuck you!"
His words tumbled out in a slurred fashion. The girl sat up in her bed, staring at the screen in bewilderment. Something about his words triggered a flashback for her.
"Mason!" Sheila exclaimed, flabbergasted. "Is that you?"
"And the fucking prize goes to - hic -"
"Are you drunk?"
"Why do you care?" He spat out, his words laced with resentment. "You don't give a shit about me."
"That's not true-"
"Don't fucking lie to me, Sheila!"
Despite the anger in his voice, it was clear that there was pain behind his words. Sheila knew him all too well. The anger was nothing but a shield for pain.
"Mason..." She said softly. "Look, I-"
"Don't. I don't want to hear it," he snapped coldly.
"Just shut the fuck up and listen to me. Okay? Just listen to me for once in your fucking life. Just listen, bitch, listen."
Sheila nodded her head, despite his physical absence. She hated it when he cursed excessively, as it would dampen her whole mood. She tried to get him to snap out of this habit, but some things were just difficult to change.
The last time she heard of him, she was informed by his friends that he was receiving therapy for his mental health issues. She knew to stay away from him, as she wanted him to recover fully. Mason was stubborn at first, demanding that he needed her by his side, but afterwards he, too, agreed that they weren't healthy for each other.
It hurt Sheila to think about him. He was her first kiss. Her first boyfriend. Her first love. Everything was sweet at the beginning of their relationship but, unfortunately towards the end, it went downhill quickly. They had reached a point where they despised each other, arguing over every little thing the other person said or did. It was a constant battle at the end - should they stay together and work this out, or should they go their separate ways?
And, now, here they were once more. Months later after their separation.
"I wish you were here."
Sheila sucked in her breath. She didn't expect to hear those words come from him.
"I wish I could see you now..." He murmured, softly, "And to hold you again..."
She closed her eyes. When he spoke like this, his voice was smooth like butter and sweet like honey. It had such an effect on her - he didn't have to say or do much - for her brain to turn to mush.
"I wish I could go back in time and treat you better... I wish I didn't take you for granted..."
Tears were welling up in her eyes. It was as though he was singing softly for her - producing a melancholy melody with just his voice and words. She felt herself being reeled in like a fish on a hook.
"I wish I could wrap my hands around your pretty little neck and strangle you, "till you turn blue in the face. I should've done that a long time ago."
And, just like that, the music had stopped. The spell had been broken, but she was trapped by the hook, squirming and wanting to be let go.
"You ruined my life. You ruined me. At least before you came along, I was cold. No one or nothing could touch me. But you- you had to come along and destroy who I was. Now, I don't know who I am... You've changed me for the worse."
She felt like a fish that had been pulled out of water, desperately gasping for air. She wanted to cry out for help, but her cry was caught in her throat.
"I can't trust anyone - it's your fault. I tried to get therapy, but... it only made me realize how much you consumed me. My thoughts. Everywhere I look - I'm reminded of you. And the worst part is, I know you don't give a flying fuck about me - hell, if I died now, will you give a shit? Will you turn up at my funeral? Will you even cry, you heartless bitch?"
Sheila felt a little piece of her die inside. It was the same feeling she felt whenever she was with Mason. Somehow, he made her hate herself. He made her feel insecure. He painted her in such a negative life, where she felt as though she was truly the bad guy - and he rarely took accountability for his own actions and shortcomings.
Normally, when he rambled on like this, she would bite back her tongue and let him verbally attack her. She would reassure herself that he didn't mean the things he said, that he was just saying these things due to his emotional and mental instability. She would rarely speak back to him, for the fear of him taking her words to heart, as he had demonstrated time and time again.
This time, however, she felt exhausted. It was as though he had sucked the life out of her.
"It's 3 in the morning," she said, coldly, reflecting his tone, "And I don't have the time nor energy for your bullshit right now. Goodbye."
With that said, she hung up on him before he could get a word in edgeways. She switched off her phone, so that he wouldn't disturb her again, and she rested on her side, tucking the blanket under her chin.
There was a small smile of satisfaction on her face.