Callie writhed restlessly in bed and watched the sliver of moon climb its routine arc across the indigo sky, willing that stubborn moon to move faster. Callie swore time stopped at night to account for these torturously long, dark hours. Every click of the clock chanted Erica's name. Erica, the architect of Callie's doom.
Countless nights of empty hours forced Callie to analyze the unrecognizable mess of her life and compare it to the halcyon life she could have had with Erica. Erica never even looked back, but Callie didn't chase after her either. Both women simply gave up. Now Callie was adrift, incomplete, and questioning her own existence. Callie wasn't sure she really existed outside Erica's gaze.
Callie was tempted to hate Erica for leaving, balancing atop the tightrope between mad love and vengeful hate. Callie even toyed with the idea of wishing she had never met Erica. George had wounded Callie, but Erica slayed Callie, leaving Callie to cry for the death of her heart. Secretly, Callie knew she was happier being miserable about Erica than she could ever be happy with anyone else. Callie couldn't conceive of wanting anyone else, realizing too late that Erica was all she ever wanted. Callie cursed the sinister logic that illuminated exactly what you wanted the moment you couldn't have it anymore.
Callie had always subscribed to the idea of the earth being round, but she now feared there were actual edges or ends to the earth because Erica evidently fell off the edge, vanishing off the face of the earth. Erica stalked off to her car that tragic night and was seemingly swallowed by a black hole, the earth crumbling into nothingness benearth her boots. Callie remembered Erica was wearing her favorite black boots that night. Never a fetish-type person, Callie recalled how just the echo of those boots confidently and authoritatively striding down the hospital corridors automatically skyrocketed Callie's pulse. Everything about Erica turned Callie on, but Erica in those boots was on the top of the list. Callie was turned on now just conjuring the memory of those boots and how Erica let Callie peel them off her one night. Callie aspired to undress Erica every night for the rest of her life. She wanted that job.
Callie sometimes doubted that Erica even existed, the world continually spinning on as if her absence had no consequence. Erica so wholly disappeared from Callie's corner of the world, all traces completely erased, that Callie continually needed proof that Erica really did exist. That there was a girl and her name was Erica and she was the world to Callie. Now Callie sustained herself on proof of Erica to keep the threats of doubt away, to keep Erica alive. The proof was all she had.
Callie reached over and fumbled for her phone on her bedside table. She kept the phone within reach at all times. Callie knew Erica would never call, but an ember of hope smoldered in her. If that fire ever went out completely, Callie would be undone. That fire alone enabled Callie to wake up every morning and plod numbly through her life. She wasn't living her life, but she was surviving. Once a vivacious siren bouncing through her life, Callie was now a robotron on autopilot.
Callie found the phone and pulled herself up to a sitting position, resting against the headboard. The phone threw a square of neon light on her face as she scrolled through the phone. She needed to see Erica's face, just as if Erica were here, she'd snuggle into her warm body. Callie still slept on the right side of the bed, keeping Erica's side free, as if Erica might come home late one night and climb exhausted into bed. Callie routinely rolled over at night in her fitfull sleep and reached for Erica's body, her arm frantically flailing and slicing through the empty space until her own violent movements jolted her awake. The body remembers.
Callie finally found the image she ached for. Given their short relationship and Erica's hatred of having her picture taken, this was the only picture of them together.
The morning after their first date, Callie, buzzing on the high of new love, spotted Erica at the nurses' station. Erica was preoccupied signing charts and prepping for a long day of fixing hearts. Callie snuck up behind Erica to brush Erica's hair away and kiss behind Erica's ear. Erica startled at the moist stamp of Callie's lips. She audibly gasped and spun around to face Callie, Erica's face blushing the rosiest shade of pink. "Callie!"
"What?" Callie smirked, delighting in making Erica blush. Dr. Hahn didn't do blushing, but Erica did and only for Callie.
"Callie..." Erica swiveled her head frantically, scanning the atrium for any potential witnesses of Callie's kiss. "Cal, we're at work," Erica gently warned Callie in her whiskey-flavored voice as she turned back to her paperwork and picked up her pen with tremulous hands. Erica exhaled and pretended to concentrate on the chart in front of her, but she truthfully couldn't remember her own name in Callie's presence, especially when Callie was leaning into her and hotly breathing on her neck as she was now.
Callie wolfishly sniffed Erica's hair. "Can I see you tonight? I want to take you out to dinner."
"You want a second date tonight?" Erica was suddenly bashful under Callie's rapt attention. Erica zeroed in on her pen to maintain a modicum of control. Every molecule in Erica's body screamed for Callie's body.
"Yeah, I want the second date tonight. I don't want to wait the requisite few days. Let's skip the dating protocol. I think being best friends for months allows us to jump ahead. And we made way past first base last night, so I was hoping we could secure second and go for third tonight. I was thinking if I buy you dinner, you might be obligated to do that..." Callie whispered before nuzzling Erica's warm, freckled neck.
"You don't have to buy me dinner to...do that..." Erica gulped and couldn't find the words for all she wanted Callie to do to her.
"Too late. I already made reservations and I'm not telling you where we're going. It's a surprise. Just meet me down here in the lobby at seven, okay?" She lightly kissed Erica's neck before fixing the blondeness she had just mussed up with all her nuzzling. Callie carefully hooked a handful of lustrous, yellow waves behind Erica's pink ear(yes, Erica was still blushing, the pretty blush spreading to her delicate ears). Callie smiled serenely and proudly at the amazing girl she was successfully sweeping off her feet. Callie redefined "whipped" and fully intended to steal home plate tonight. Never one for baseball metaphors, Callie was now an avid baseball-metaphor-fan if it meant "scoring" with Erica.
Erica slowly turned to meet Callie's eyes. "Okay." Erica nodded shyly. Callie couldn't take her eyes off Erica's kiss-ready mouth, suddenly flashing back to the previous night. Erica had pounced on Callie and clawed at Callie's dress before Callie could even open the door to her apartment. They stumbled through Callie's door, connected at the mouth, and fell on Callie's couch, Erica pinned under a half-dressed Callie.
Callie had a new obsession, Erica's mouth. Callie had a lightbulb moment and covertly searched for her phone in her jacket pocket, her eyes never leaving Erica's lollipop lips. Erica too was preoccupied with the way Callie was biting her bottom lip. The world fell away when Erica looked at Callie.
Callie closed in on Erica's mouth as she slowly pulled the phone out of her pocket. "Erica?"
Erica unconsciously mirrored Callie's leaning, the empty space disappearing between their colliding bodies. "Yeah?" Erica panted.
Callie raised her arm to aim the phone at her and Erica. "Don't get mad, but-" Callie pressed the camera button just as she was about to kiss Erica.
Erica kissed her back until her mind connected the dots between the sound of Callie's camera, the phone still held in mid-air, and Callie's innate mischief. Erica yanked her head back, unsuctioning her mouth from Callie's with a resounding smooch. "Callie! What did you just do?"
Callie giggled devilishly and took a step back, hiding her phone behind her back. "Nothing." Callie bounced on the balls of her feet and feigned innocence, failing completely.
"Torres, you know I hate nothing more than having my picture taken. If you took a picture of us with whatever that is behind your back, I'm going to confiscate it and set it on fire, I swear to you-"
Callie stopped Erica's tirade with a tender kiss. "Just be here at seven." Callie instructed Erica before kissing her one more time and throwing Erica a smile, one of her famous incandescent smiles that shames the sun, before nearly skipping down the hallway.
Erica openly admired Callie's delicious retreating shape and wished those pesky clothes away.
Her eyes now tearing at the memory, Callie still managed to smile at the image of them together. The shadowed room contrasted sharply with the neon square in Callie's palm, her heart glowing just as brightly at the memory of that perfect moment. Callie wished for a life of perfect moments with Erica. They deserved a lifetime of perfect moments.
Resting her head against the headboard, Callie shivered at the depravity of the malevolent cosmic forces that broke them apart. Their separation was galactically wrong. Their love was planetary. Callie inwardly raged at the injustice of fate, her own mistakes, and their catastrophic combination. Admittedly, Callie made mistakes and had been careless when it mattered most. She had betrayed her best friend and devastated the one she loved, but Callie broke her own heart when she let Erica walk away.
In her secret heart, Callie had to believe nothing was permanently broken. Actions couldn't be undone, there were no do-overs, but there could be apologies. There could be amends. There could be promises to do better. People could be forgiven. They could mend themselves at the broken parts and be even stronger than before. They could start again. They belonged together. Despite this hiccup of fate, the universe had put them together once and could unite them again.
Callie fought the urge to leap out of bed, run out into the street, and roar Erica's name to the bejeweled sky. Erica's absence forced Callie to find the courage to let it all go. She found her voice and that voice screamed for Erica. Maybe Callie's voice could echo off that cruel moon and find its way to Erica. Callie had been looking so long at the picture, the picture that held all the words she knew to be true. There was too much left unsaid, but how can you apologize and promise your devotion to someone who refuses to listen? If only Callie had thought of the right words at the right time, she could have held onto Erica's heart. There was nothing in the world she ever wanted more than to feel Erica deep in her heart.
After Erica disappeared, Callie left countless voicemails and text messages, begging to see or speak to Erica. Callie's calls eventually dwindled to one every few days. Callie still sent periodic texts, sending her messages out into the void. Callie believed the mere action of sending the message to Erica was sending a message to the universe to return Erica to her, each message a plea. Callie sent these wishes out to the universe like helium balloons, a balloon released from her hand only to drift skyward and be swallowed by clouds, disappearing from view, but still soaring.
Callie highlighted Erica's number and typed a brief message. Callie felt better already, telling the universe once again who she wanted. Maybe the universe would answer back this time.
Callie smiled at the picture one more time, silently wishing Erica "goodnight" wherever she was. Trusting the universe had her message, Callie's body now relaxed. Sleepiness suddenly washed over her. Callie yawned, put the phone back on the bedside table, and curled up on her side. She sighed at the silly moon, still climbing, merely doing his job. Callie yawned once more and let her too-heavy eyelids close as she drifted off into cottony sleep.
A few moments later, on the bedside table next to Callie's sleeping head, her phone's screen glowed with Callie's wished-for response. The universe was answering.