Saturday, June 5, 2010

Early Morning Conversations

It's no great secret anymore that I get phone calls from Liam from time to time... but last night took the biscuit. Firstly, there was no real reason for the first, or second, call. He literally just called to chat. Secondly, I didn't have to say something to invite a phone call at his nearest convenience (which relates to the "Firstly"). Thirdly, there were three phone calls within a couple of hours. Yes, three. Just don't tell my parents. As far as they know, only the third one actually happened.

I was alseep. That much should be made clear; I was perfectly, contentedly, asleep. Then the phone rang. At half one in the morning. A groggy but coherent, "Hello." I can't remember exactly what he said. Maybe he was filling me in on details I already had, like his location - he'd announced it on Facebook earlier. I could hear the noise of the bar in the background. I maintained a conversation, not entirely knowing what was going on when, out of the blue, "We're going on a road trip soon. Three or four weeks time, down to the south west. We'll get Miley on the way." Road trip. Yes, a road trip. I still don't know how that happened. Am I complaining? Not at all! I've been looking for things to do this summer, and a road trip to Munster sounds like a great plan! The conversation ended shortly after that.

I thought, okay, back to bed. But I can't help but think about the last conversation I had with Liam over the phone, relating to something I need to sort out. I start to think about it when, out of the blue, my phone starts to ring again. Thankfully it's on vibrate or my parents would have been woken up. That would have been more than a bit bad...

"Hello?" A little more curious this time. Can't remember how he started this conversation either. Somewhere along the line, "I can't hear you. It sounds like you're talking into a pillow." Naturally I reply, in a still groggy voice, "I am talking into a pillow." About a minute later, not of silence or just bar noise, but of conversation that's a bit hazy in my head. "You're in fucking bed!" Of course I was in bed. It was two in the morning. The conversation ended shortly after that.

I went downstairs to get a glass of milk. I was thirsty, I was hot, and I certainly wasn't getting back to sleep. I wrote him an email, detailing the thought process I'd been having before he called again. Fine, I thought, I can get back to sleep now that that's out of my head. I go upstairs. I get under the covers. Ten to three - I can still get some sleep.

The phone rings again. "Hi Liam." Bar noise. Lots of it. "Paul, I need to talk to the girlfriend." I know, I was equally confused. I tell him I need to get to a different room. I open my door. It doesn't open quietly. It never does. I go to the kitchen again as he hands the phone over to Emma. "Hi, is this Paul?" I tell her it is. She starts talking. Bar noise gets in the way. I tell her I can't hear something she says. "Oh hold on," she says to me, "I need to find somewhere quieter. I can't hear you." Some moving around. An apology as she nearly knocks over a table of pints reaching for her drinks. Another apology to a member of staff in the bar as she tells him she'll only be in a minute in the Staff Only section.

"Hi, are you still there?" I tell her I am. Can she hear me? Yes, she can. "I don't know why he wanted me to talk to you." Neither do I, but I'm not complaining. I've been supressing laughter since I heard the first apology. She brings up Miley. "Oh it's always Miley Cyrus this, and Miley Cyrus that, yadda yadda yadda." Before I can say anything, "She called five times tonight!" Five times? Seriously, Miley? Five?

"Miley has a few problems that Liam helps her out with," I tell Emma. "There's nothing to worry about."

"Yeah, but surely you can understand where I'm coming from. Liam's gone back to college and he's like an eighteen year old again." This is true. Liam can be a bit immature sometimes. But in the good way, not in the I'm going to light this on fire kind of way. He's a child at heart, and it does him some good in getting along with everyone.

Emma has her worries. I tell her about a guy Miley likes. The gossip is better than the argument she and Liam had - it was one of those arguments that arises from alcohol consumption (there was a lot of it - beer, then wine, then Guiness, now Morgan and Coke) and a slight case of paranoia, because Liam's not a bad looking guy. If he was an ugly fuck, she'd have nothing to worry about. But five phone calls to Miley Cyrus later...

We make a promise; we're going to actually meet, Emma and I. There were lots of laughs, lots of chatter (mainly from her - I'm a good listener, and it helped that I could stay as quiet as possible downstairs). My side of the deal, for when she comes out with us in college, is that I try make her feel like she's not an old woman. That shouldn't be hard - I don't drink, so I sometimes come across as being far too serious. Then a song will come on that I like and I rave about like a nutter.

Emma says her goodbyes. For the next thirty seconds, all I hear is bar noise. I hear her voice. I don't hear Liam. I think, maybe she's bringing the phone back to him. But the noise... it's actually at the bar. She's not gone looking for Liam just yet. She's just left the phone in her hand. I hang up, to save Liam some credit. The conversation ended shortly before that.


Ken Armstrong said...

Is this your life? It reads a bit like 'Down To Zero' by Brett Easton Ellis, which I recommend to you as a good read and a fine example of first person writing.

Paul Carroll said...

This is my life, yes. Admittedly it's a very strange night from my life; normally I don't get called up at 3am to calm down a girlfriend who's not really sure why she's been handed the phone.

Down To Zero... right, that's now on my reading list for the summer! :-) Thanks for the recommendation, Ken!

Ken Armstrong said...

You're welcome mate. (Just to prove I read back).

The book is quite an Adult tome, I need to warn you of that... I know we're all adults here but I like to tread carefully. :)

Ken Armstrong said...

Darn... it's 'Less Than Zero'.


Paul Carroll said...

Well, that'll make it easier to find... it's always a little more difficult when I don't have the right title. Though, someone, how manage in our shop. Curious...

Adult... Ken, I once read a book with a necrophile who got the corpse preggers. I think I can manage this! Ha!