There was a moment of silence on the other end of the line, as she tried to recognise him.
And another, when she did.
"I'm sorry.. I- I couldn't sleep," he said.
"It's alright," she said.
"How've you been?"
"I've been..alright, I think. I don't know. I haven't slept in a few days. I'm sorry, I didn't know who else to call."
"What ever happens?" he said, smiling. "I can't sleep. It comes, and it goes."
And then, after a pause.
"Well, I was safely ensconced between my blankets and some vaguely disturbing dreams about butterflies turning into basketcases, so I'm not altogether sure whether I'm happier, having you ring."
"Don't go having nightmares," he said, laughing only slightly. "You know that's my gig."
"Yeah? And how's that working out for you?"
"Well, it's half past three in the morning, I'm halfway through a pack of cigarettes and I'm calling a woman who I'm not at all certain ever wanted to speak to me again," he said. "So I'll tell you in a few minutes."
"Dramatic," she said. "You should put it in the book."
"Would that there were one."
"You know where I stand on that one."
"If I wanted to, I would. I know."
She paused for a moment, and he could hear sheets moving around her.
"Are you still in that apartment?"
"I- what? No, I moved out of there a few months ago."
"Did you kiss the balcony goodbye from me?"
"I'm sorry. That probably gets filed under things I shouldn't say."
"Who knows? Yeah, probably."
He heard a car screech to a stop, a thousand miles away. A moment's silence, a moment's doubt observed, he heard it start again, tyres squealing purposefully.
"I was listening to Buckley."
"Honestly, a? Just write the damn book."
"Just listen. I was listening to Buckley. And, adolescent as it sounds, he reminded me that I was still hurting."
"Of course you're still hurting, a. What did you expect? It doesn't..it doesn't go away."
"You just learn to live with it, yeah?"
He imagined that he heard her nodding.
"Yeah," he said, again. "You just learn to live with it."
The stereo whirred, for a moment, throwing him off-balance. Moments later, Cohen came on.
"I'm sorry," he said. "I didn't call to talk about this. I just- I couldn't sleep."
"I know, a," she said, and he imagined the lines against her face softening.
"So tell me about your life."
-all your demons, held at bay-