It’s Tuesday, January third in the last year of the eighties. Still getting used to that. Cal Alonso here at WBAR to keep you night owls company. Weatherman tells me the skies are clear but the roads are still icy from the weekend storm, so be careful out there kids.
By the time I get on the road after my first rehearsal at Chichester Rep, the highway’s free of cars. The trip back is shorter than the trip up, but it feels longer. My day started way too many hours ago. I’ll miss the kids when my job ends in a couple weeks, but it’ll be nice to get to sleep in a bit.
At least the good radio station’s signal sticks with me for the whole trip. Singing and car-dancing keeps me awake, and the sexy-sounding DJ is an added bonus. This guy rocks.
Just as I pull into my apartment parking lot, he asks a trivia question that I actually know the answer to. I figure the odds of winning are low, but the cold night air has me sprinting from my car to my apartment anyway, so I may as well try for it.
“Come on, come on, you stupid door.” Sticky lock conquered, I race to the phone. The station’s phone number was seared into my memory the moment his growly voice recited it, so I punch in the numbers with confidence. When I get ringing instead of the usual busy signal, I do a little battement dégagé in celebration.
“Yello, it’s WBAR.” The guy who answers is definitely not the DJ. He sounds like he’s about twelve. “What’s the pencil sketch technique used in the ‘Take on Me’ music video?”
“Righteous. You won the Tower Records gift certificate.”
“Awesome! I’ve never won anything before.”
“Tight.” He doesn’t sound anywhere near as excited as I am. “Okay, uh...I need to get your name and address so we can send it to you.”
After I give him the info, I ask, “Hey, can you give the DJ a message for me?”
“A message?” I sure hope he’s not twelve. He sounds totally stoned.
“Can you thank him for me? He totally saved me from crashing into a ditch or something tonight. I have this new, long commute, and—”
“You know what? You tell him. Hang on.”
The heat is supposed to be fixed, so I try to reach the thermostat while I’m on hold. Unfortunately, the phone cord doesn’t quite reach. I’m about to put the receiver down when the voice from the radio lands in my ear.
“Oh, hi.” My heart jumps along with my feet as they fly into a changement. “You’re really...Callihan?”
“Thanks for—Um, aren’t you, like, on the air?”
“There’s a song playing right now.”
“Oh, duh. I get it. I was listening in the car, but I ran into my apartment to call in for the contest.” Why am I being such a Joanie right now? Boys never make me nervous. “Anyway, I wanted to thank you. I have this new job an hour’s drive away and I hate driving at night and you totally kept me from falling asleep on the way home and crashing my car on Route 3. So...thanks. I just wanted to say that.”
“I’m glad you did.” There’s a smile in his voice. Hopefully, he’s not laughing at me. But I wouldn’t blame him.
“Okay, well.” A ridiculous-sounding giggle chirps out of me. “Thanks again.”
“Wait. Do you work this late all week?”
“Um, yeah. Tuesday to Friday.”
“So you’ll call again tomorrow.”
“What if I don’t know the answer?”
“The answer to what?”
“To the trivia question.”
“That doesn’t matter. You can call anytime.”
“Even if there’s not a contest?”
“Even if there’s not a contest.” When I don’t say anything, he adds, “If you don’t call, I’ll worry.”
“Oh, gotcha. Well, good night.”
“Wait—what’s your name?”
“Jessica. Jess. Either one.”
“Good night, Jess. Sleep well.”
“You, too. I mean, when you get to. Not now. Silly me. You’re working.”
“Doing what I can.” When he laughs, the rumble rolls into my ear and rushes all the way to my lower belly, flooding me with...I don’t know. The vibrations are like a massage from the inside.
Damn. Now I’m more riled up than when I ran in the door. As I skip across the room, the hum of the dial tone makes me realize that I’ve still got the receiver pressed to my ear.
After setting it back in its cradle, I move through a series of pliés, kicks and extensions to wind down as well as work off the time I spent sitting at rehearsal and in the car. When my teaching job ends, I’m going to have to try and pick up more classes at the studio where I teach jazz on Monday nights—both for the cash and to stay in shape. Meanwhile, I may not have normal furniture, but I do have a beautifully crafted ballet barre in my living room, which I use more than I’d ever use a couch.
Discipline, my constant companion, guides me through my bedtime routine.
Skin care. Water. Sleep.
As I slide into dreamland, a question pops into my mind. I wonder if that DJ looks as sexy as he sounds?