I remember the exact way the heel of your hand fit against my back, the pressure squarely at the center. Your wrist brushed the apex of one shoulder blade as your fingers rested on the other, tapping a rhythm only you could hear.
We fit together from the first like the Matryoshka nesting dolls I brought home from Russia. Lenin inside of Stalin and Stalin inside of Gorbachev…their smooth curves fitting together, matching like the single piece of wood from which they were carved.
I miss your touch in lots of ways but none more so than there on my back, where it rested, marking me as yours. All outward signs you have faded. No trace of you remains anywhere but for my soul. Not so easily shrugged aside as a hand on my back. I push and pull, twist and tear but cannot release your grip.
I'm unsure if it's a blessing or my cross to bear, but when I close my eyes, I feel you next to me. Still. I hear hum of the air between us as you stretch your hand from your side and reach for me.
I try to free myself from the spell of her husky voice long enough to say what must be said. It is difficult. Chills run up and down my spine in syncopation. I need to get out of this now, before I end up in a grip I'll never escape.
"Honey," I say, hearing my voice waver like breath in cold air, "I'm afraid you dialed the wrong number."
Opening: Dasha Alexander.....Continuation: Joanna