A Cry in the Wilderness
Tim Ljunggren

"God, I"m a wreck! Can you come over?"

The voice on the other end of the telephone was insistent. I had heard it many times before. As usual, I would attempt to take a stand.

"Jillian, that's not a good idea. Why don't we just talk on the phone for a bit?"

There was silence. There's always silence when Jillian is involved. Pregnant pauses that can only mean one of two things: outrage or boredom. I was betting that outrage was keeping her tongue still for a few seconds.

"Fine! Fine! I need you, I'm hurting, and you refuse to be here for me! That just shows me what kind of a person you really are, you bastard!"

Yep. Outrage.

"Look, I'm happy to talk with you on the phone. But I won't come to your apartment. We've already discussed this, remember?"

"But I need you!"

"No you don't. Besides, what would Bill do if he caught us together again? Have you thought about that?"

More silence.

"You're such an asshole," she snarled before she hung up. "A complete and utter asshole."

Guilty as charged. But, for the moment, I was able to keep the wolf at bay through the sheer boredom of my rational responses. She hates to be bored. She hates rationality. She hates tempered responses. She thrives on high infidelities and heavy doses of pathos. I was sorry that I had allowed myself to get involved with her.

So what else is new?

I seem to be attracted to women with a flair for dramatics. Women like Jillian, who wear their emotions on their sleeves. Or on their designer dresses. Or on their beautiful naked bodies.

Maybe I'm just attracted to borderline personality types. Maybe women like Jillian make me feel alive. Their frayed nerves and raw impulses sing to me. Their constant need for attention hooks and reels me in. Just like a toothache that won't go away, the pain that they cause me lets me know that I can still feel something.

In the end, maybe women like Jillian remind me of my mother. Who knows? Who cares? And who really wants to dive into that sick and perverted morass? Opedius complexes, anyone? No, thank you . . . none today!

Yeah, right . . .

I thought for a moment, and then picked up the telephone receiver. She answered after the very first ring: "Yes?"

"Okay, Jillian . . . you got me. I'll be over in ten minutes. But I can't stay long."

I could actually feel her smile over the phone.

"It doesn't matter how long you stay, my darling," she whispered. "It just matters that you heard my cry in the wilderness."

First published: November 2001
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