Talking Stage

A short story by Jordan Balkcom

Dani hadn’t heard from him in seven hours and forty-three minutes. Wyd? She set the phone down then, leaving the message unsent and the bright blue cursor to mock her with its expectant blinking. There was silence for a minute, and then six more audible finger taps, on her wooden desk this time. She needed to think.

And she did, for a second. “Hello?” prompted the voice on the other end. Dani was staring at the ceiling, and understood that her call had been placed on the bathroom counter. Occasionally, an elbow swung into frame as the girl on the other end pulled a curling wand carefully through her hair. Forging ahead anyway, Dani set the phone upright and resting on her T.J. Maxx lamp as she began to tell the story. She leaned towards the phone then away again, and filled in for the breaths she couldn’t catch with her hands as she explained that she knew something was wrong because they had been talking for months and he always replied and…

“What should I do?” Dani finished with a sigh.

“Well what was the last thing he said?”

“He sent an emoji.” “How long have y’all been together?”

“Well we’ve been talking for like six months, but...”

“Don’t say anything.”


“I’m serious.”


The girl was right of course. But she didn’t know him like Dani did, or maybe she hadn’t understood when Dani had explained the full context of their relationship. She wouldn’t text him, though. In fact, she’d do him one better. Dani picked up the phone again, this time dragging a thumb across the screen to close the thread. She scrolled for a little and picked a new one then, one denoted by a nameless series of numbers and a “Maybe:…” As she typed, the sound of her nails hitting the glass echoed too loud in her empty room.

Wyd? :)

Her shoulders relaxed as her device informed her that the message had delivered. Spreading quickly to her cheeks, a smile formed as Dani saw a gray bubble appear, disappear, and then reappear again. She was still watching the little dots chase each other when a quick buzz caught her attention. Without a second thought, she pulled down the banner at the top of her screen.

my bad I was sleep lol

She used her thumb again then, this time to flick the notification back up in disgust. A beat passed. Was he serious? She was tapping on the desk again when she felt it vibrate. Dani didn’t want to look, and she was embarrassed when she became aware of her heart beating and the prickly feeling of sweat forming in her armpits. She pushed the notification up, and then quickly dragged her finger back down again. It was easy to find the message, sitting at the top underneath all those emojis. As she read, Dani was thinking about her heart again. This time it was dropping as she squeezed the phone and made her screen go black.


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