Calling Kate

I called Kate last week. She’d been upstate all summer, acting in some plays. We’d hardly spoken. “Hey,” I said. “What state are you living in?”

“Um, New York?” she said. She sounded unusually guarded. Maybe it was was just that she’d been upstate, not out of state, and she doesn’t like stupid questions.

“Great,” I said. “What city?”

“Um,” she said. Then silence. Finally, “New York. Why?”

“Because we should hang out.”

More silence. Was she mad at me? Was it my fault that we hadn’t spoken in more than a month? No, that’s just what happens in New York, and everyone knows it, so why would she be mad at me? Had I missed her birthday? Fuck. Maybe. When is her birthday? I can’t remember.

“Who is this?” she finally asked.

She’d lost her phone, and all her numbers with it. I felt first relived, then irked that she hadn’t recognized my voice. Then, after a while of feeling silly about feeling both of these, I settled on feeling confused. Why is it okay that New Yorkers go months without talking to their favorite people? Why is this not alarming enough to take action?