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on the phone

So she calls you, out of the blue, while you’re watching the football game on TV. You ask her why she’s calling and she tells you that she’s “bored” and that she “needs someone to talk to.” So you turn the TV off—you can always catch the repeat broadcast tomorrow morning—and you tell her that you can talk, and that you’d be happy to. Of course you would be: who wouldn’t be happy to talk to the girl they like?

A single thought runs through your head: she’s the one that called. Not the other way around. You didn’t call her. She. Called. You. And while you listen to her talk about her day and her life, interrupting occasionally with anecdotes about past experiences and responding to the occasional question she poses, you think of all the seemingly positive signals she’s given off, the things that have made you, an unceasing pessimist, feel that there may be some sort of hope for you after all. That it somehow may not end up as a flaming wreckage.

Over the past few months you’ve taken to telling yourself that it’s not wrong to hope and that living without hoping for anything isn’t a proper way to be living, almost as if you’re trying to justify the simple act of hoping. Sometimes you feel like you don’t want to hope, because you know it’s only setting yourself up for dissapointment, but you keep hoping regardless. And you keep telling yourself those things to make you feel better about doing so.

Really, though, there’s nothing wrong with hoping, is there?

No, nothing at all. Just don’t expect too much.

But then you’re not expecting much, are you?

No, not really. You realize that rejection and heartbreak are still very real possibilities, and that’s good, but you can’t help but hope. It’s hard not to.

You hope that it won’t fall apart like last time around and, for that matter, every other time before that. You’ve had just about enough of rejection and heartbreak and, frankly, your’e sick of it. As you like to say, rejection’s been the Saturday Night Fever-esque, overly-loud and seemingly ever-present soundtrack to your life.

But you tell yourself that, this time, it’ll be different. This time you won’t make any silly mistakes, you won’t show your hand too early, you won’t make her feel uncomfortable or put her in uncomfortable situations, you won’t force her into anything, you won’t fuck it up. No, no, no. Not this time. No more mistakes.

And while you’re telling yourself that, she’s telling you about this and that, about how she almost got ran over while crossing the street, how she spilled coffee on her best friend during lunch, how one of her classmates is “really cute” (you feel somewhat uncomfortable listening to her tell you that, but you shrug it off: after all, just because she thinks he’s cute doesn’t mean she likes him . . . right?) and that the only reason she’s called you is because you were the first name she pulled out of the hat. Somehow she finds it funny, as if you were the last person she’d be calling if she hadn’t pulled your name out of the hat.

You think of asking her: “what hat?” but you don’t bother. It’s not like it really matters anyway. Before you can say anything, though, she tells you she’s got to go and hangs up. You don’t even get to say goodbye.

Suddenly there’s no one talking into your ear no more. Silence. Or something thereabouts.

You remain rooted to the couch, unsure as to how you’re supposed to be feeling. You stare at the turned-off television set and you say to yourself:

“So that’s why she called.

Damn.”

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Categories: prose and poetry
  1. mei
    Aug 2, 2008 at 11:54

    wow azzief, this is how everyone feels i guess. so well written!

    the feeling..
    to like someone and they know about it and to be used by them.. we tell ourselves the same thing when it happens to us but we would repeat it again and again to hurt others as they’ve hurt us

    us; humans and our feelings. how sad we can be.

  2. Anonymous
    Aug 10, 2008 at 13:21

    hello. you don’t know me but reading this post, i have something to say. if you don’t mind.

    girls call guys they like. even a little bit of like (meaning they’re curious abt you). i’m a girl so i would know. haha. i used all types of excuse – assignments, there’s no one else to call, you’re the only one that knows abt whatever etc etc.

    the no one else to call is the last excuse i would use. it’s a pathetic one because hello, no one?? girls call their girlfriends when bored. i would usually hope to god that the guy won’t figure it out but yeah. haha.

    so don’t let go on the hope, yeah? :) maybe there was no hat.

  3. azzief
    Aug 10, 2008 at 14:04

    i’ll refrain from whinging about the mindset i was in when i wrote this, but i have to say that, sure, maybe there was no hat.

    but then maybe there was!

    i find myself nearly always writing about the latter, oftentimes negative, possibilities.

    it’s, as i’m sure many would agree, so me.

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