“I miss you,” says the voice on the other side of the line. The number displayed on my phone screen is unregistered.
“I miss you too,” I answer. “Who is this?”
“It’s me.” He tells me his name, and I laugh because the last time we talked, he said he hated me with all his heart. “I wanted to hear your voice.”
There’s a silence. I’m sleepy. He seems indecisive.
“Okay,” I told him. “Can you please make your point already? I can listen for five minutes, but after that I need to go. I have work at seven.”
“I’m getting married,” he says.
I smile. “Good,” I answer. “You’re getting old.”
He sighs. “You don’t understand. I don’t want to get married.”
I fight the urge to roll my eyes. Typical. “Then you shouldn’t have asked her to marry you.”
“It’s not like that.” He’s taking deep breaths. He’s distressed. “She’s leaving, for work overseas. She wants to get married before she goes. Later today, her parents are going to ask me to marry her.”
i start playing with my hair. I’m bored. I wonder if his allotted five minutes are up already. “Interesting,” I say.
“I miss you,” he says again, somewhat desperately. “Do you remember?You used to look up at me and give me that sly smile of yours, and I would feel so happy. We used to kiss everywhere.”
“We must have,” I agreed vaguely, starting to fold my blanket.
“Do you think…do you think the two of us can still have a chance?”
I stop. Then i laugh. “You are getting married,” I remind him.
“I’d leave her,” he says. “If you want me.”
“No, thank you,” I say as nicely as I can. “I don’t want you.”
He’s quiet. Then he speaks. “Is there someone else? Do you actually…like somebody?”
I feel faintly irritated at how incredulous he sounds. “I’m not completely heartless, you know,” I mutter.
“You do like someone,” he breathes. “I can’t believe it.”
“Thanks a lot.”
“I…just wasn’t expecting this.” He laughs a little. It sounds bitter and self-deprecating. “Well. This is interesting.”
“I don’t know.”
We’re quiet again. I glance at my phone’s display. 21 seconds to go.
“Tell me something, at least.”
I walk to my mirror and peer at myself. I smile. I tilt my head and smile at myself some more. “Hmm?”
“Did you ever love me, while we were together?”
I look down at my phone.
“I don’t like this topic,” I tell him as gently as I can.
“I guess that’s my answer,” he says.
My thumb hovers over the ‘end’ button on the screen, but he says something that makes me stop.
“I hope you love him,” he tells me. “Bye, kitten. It was nice talking to you again.”
The call cuts.
I stare at my phone.
“Yes,” I say out loud. “I do love him. Don’t worry.”
But there’s no one listening anymore.