i wanted more than a voice

“Are you going to phone me?”
“But you hate talking on the phone.”
“….But I want to speak to you” [then, in a softer tone] “Please.”

I gave you a handful of reasons why you shouldn’t phone me, reasons that you’d come up with yourself:
the awkward silence; laughter and responses that came a second too late, fatigued by jet lag and timelines; delayed connections that led to strained misunderstandings; not being able to see the other person; a massive phone bill. One reason I kept to myself: hearing your voice.

“…No, just no.”

Sometimes I let you win your way and allowed you to phone me. But more often and not, the answer was no.

You eventually took my hesitance as a sign that I loved you less, that the oceans and the water between us had somehow diluted my feelings. But I never told you it was because I loved you all the more.

When a call ended, no longer could I imagine that you were only, only on your way to meet me, coming drown the road, or walking from your car. No longer could I pretend that the lapse in your response was merely a fault of the local connection. No longer could I pretend that I would see you tomorrow, perhaps (hopefully) today. Every time, when I was left holding a phone with its mocking, empty tone, all I was left with was a reminder that though your voice was a phone call away, you, yourself, were miles from here.

I wonder now if I shouldn’t have been so stern on myself, on yourself, on us. Should I have been less cautious and said Yes, phone me whenever you have time; Phone me when you miss me, phone me when you don’t; Just phone me, please? Sometimes I wonder if I shouldn’t have worried about the way that days started to lose their colour and clarity unless I’d had an email or a text message from you- if I shouldn’t have thrown my days away with my caution. But as I’m typing this, all I need to do is to glance at my phone next to my computer, lying silent like it has been for the last few months to realize that I did the right thing. In hindsight, I prevented myself from getting hurt more than necessary. But I never did it for hindsight, I never did it for an easier afterwards. Always, always I wanted more than a voice.

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~ by translating for peas on November 19, 2009.

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