I'm driving to work.
I'm in bed late at night, laptop open, working on a school project.
Sitting on the couch, watching some mindless tv show.
Pushing a grocery cart through the store, alternating between speed-shopping and contemplating ramming my cart into everyone in my way.
It doesn't matter what I'm doing.
When my phone rings, and the name "Dad" glares at me from the screen, I always feel the same.
A sucker punch to the gut.
The air rushes from my lungs.
Suddenly, I feel as if I may either pass out, empty the contents of my stomach onto the nearest (hopefully) empty receptacle, or both.
And the guilt. The horrible, nagging, heart-wrenching guilt that follows as I watch the call pass, listen to the voicemail alert, and slip the phone back into my pocket.
One day I may regret this. Sometimes I watch my phone sadly, wondering if he's calling to say he's sick, something's wrong, he needs me.
But for now, all I can hold onto is this small degree of separation, this minute piece of a barrier between alienation and the emotional onslaught that will most definitely hit us like a tsunami the next time we speak.