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NUMBERED CALLS

My name is Anna Diaz. I hate love stories. I don’t believe in destiny or fate. I am a realist. But I will tell you a story. A story of fate and destiny. A love story. I am not the protagonist of this story, nor was I present during the time of this story’s happening. I am merely a narrator. This a story of boy meets girl. But this has no happy ending. WHY? Life got in the way.


It all began on Valentine’s Day. 9PM.

The girl was sitting on her couch looking at the snow across the street.

The boy was home, watching the news he had missed earlier that evening.

It was because of a friend that this story happened really. Without her, there would be no story to tell at all. And so in walks Jessica Shepherd, the friend. She and the girl have decided the night before that if they were both dateless during Valentine’s day, Jessica would visit and bring food and entertainment. But all she brought was food.

“Where’s the entertainment?” The girl naturally asked her friend.

“Let’s play a game, then. The loser does anything the winner wants.”

“Easy. Okay.”  Was the girl’s response.

To make the story short, she lost.

The bet? Find a person she totally hadn’t known yet, and make him fall in love with her in a month.

And as luck would have it, days later, she’d meet a guy.

Coincidence? Chance? Fate? Destiny? You tell me.

She was at a coffee restaurant, waiting to be served her order and she got bored waiting. So she decided to go to the bathroom to freshen up.

When she came back she found him there sitting at her spot.

Who are you? What are you doing at my table?”

“Is this spot taken? Oh, I’m so sorry. I didn’t notice. I assumed whoever was here had left. Only the glass of water was here.”

“Yeah, well I went to the bathroom.”  She sat down.

That was how they met.

The rest then – is history.

And this was how their nocturnal habit started.

“Hey, Jessica! Glad you picked up the phone. I’ve been calling for ages. I met a guy.”

“Oooh ~, kinky. So, here’s the deal. Call him every night at 9PM and just talk. Okay?”

“That’s it? That’s pretty easy. I actually kinda like this guy.”

“Yeah, that’s it. See? Easy, does it.”

And they hung up.

So the girl called the boy at nine in the evening, and since then, it had become their every day thing. They’d go about their lives the whole morning, and when evening came, she’d call. Every night they’d chat over the phone over senseless stuff and they’d talk for countless hours. I don’t believe there ever was a time that they ran out of topics or ideas to talk about. They’d talk about jokes, how their day had gone and sensible issues like politics, government, their shared likes in movies, music and literature. They’d talk about practically anything. I suppose it is worth mentioning that they don’t bother talking about people. They talk about ideas. They share thoughts and they have fun. All in a night’s work. It seemed to her like her day would always begin at 9 PM and the rest of the day wouldn’t matter.

Yep, you guessed right. Instead of our boy falling in love with the girl, it had been the other way around. And so the girl confided in her friend. She told her all her doubts.

“I know they’re just words Jessica, but — He’s told me stuff he hadn’t told others before. I feel like we know more of each other than any of our friends know of either one of us. I know this sounds crazy. Am I crazy?

Jessica said, “No. It’s perfectly normal.”

“We’ve talked about us, too. And we both know that this isn’t going to change in the near future. I have priorities. I mean, I had priorities. Until him.” All she could do then was sigh.  

Jessica replied, “I’ve never seen you so indecisive, girl. You said so yourself, things like these are not in your life plan. He told you nothing would change. Are you scared your current set-up would not work out? Or that it will? Are you scared of losing his friendship? Or your love for him?”

And the girl realized the awful truth.

If only she had known.

Fate? Destiny? Coincidence? You tell me. Because in that exact same moment, the boy told a friend about her too. About his own doubts.

“Dude, how do I do this? Usually I just dive in. But now, with her, I feel something special. Like something I’d hate to lose. I want to take it slow.”

The friend said, “You were always so quick to jumping out on women. You never so much as bothered to wait. You told her that even if you do see each other every day, nothing would change. You’d just be friends and more than friends but never lovers, right?  Maybe the real reason you haven’t pushed on is that deep inside, you really think this couldn’t work. Are you scared that she will not wait for you? Or that she will?”

And the boy realized it too.

If only they had known.

They’d have saved themselves from the pain.

But this tale does not have a happy ending. After all, they don’t exist. And so, they went on with their strangely platonic nocturnal sweet calls.

Until.

The two love birds met again. At the coffee shop. After months.

How are you? We haven’t seen each other in so long.

Yeah, we haven’t. How’s your girlfriend by the way?

She’s fine. It’s our third month together next week.

I see. She’s lucky to have found someone like you.

He laughed. I think it’s the other way around, though. So, uhmmm – enough about me. What about you? How’s your new job?

I’m fine. Still me. She smiled.

I want to hug you.

I’d rather you not.

Why?

You know why.

I’m sorry.

Why? We’d always be friends. Dude, don’t suck up the moment.

They laughed.

Time flew and they had to part ways – once more.

Back to their lives behind the phone and the other end of the dial tone. It was like serendipity. A temporary bliss they just could not let go. Like Fitzgerald’s characters, they fell in love once. But somehow, somewhere between it all, they fell out of it. They became friends, however. The very best of friends you could ever imagine. Their nocturnal habit, so hard to eradicate.

B: Thank you for everything. I hope we could still be friends.

G: ———–

B: Hey? Are you still there?

G: Huh? Oh yeah. Still here. Always. We’ll always be friends.


She was once in love with a fellow.

She loved him, and maybe he loved her too. Or maybe he did not. The fact still remains that they shared memories together. And she remembers them. All of them. She did not want any part of him forgotten. Because she knew that if she did let go, she would be erasing a major part of happiness in her life. Sometimes, the only reason we couldn’t let go of our sadness is because it is also the reason of our happiness. She would be discarding whatever it was they had or shared, if they ever did have or share anything. She wanted to continue the lie because it has become her truth. She was a liar, and in her lies she found her truth.


 

She’d dream of a conversation she wanted them to have.

She’d ask him, “Do you love me?”

And he’d respond, Yes.

Then she’d ask why and his answer is the best. “I really don’t know.”

Then she’ll smile and get lost inside the dream.

“Why are you smiling?”

“You’re the only one who has answered that question correctly.”


Relationships never last. Nothing ever does.

Real things never last. They fade away over time. Maybe it’s why people choose fantasy over reality. Because in them, there’s still this illusion that everything lasts. But that’s it; it’s a mere illusion. A false conclusion. We must always live in reality. Reality brings pain, but it also brings joy. We must always choose to live in the reality we make, every single day. Not in the ‘reality’ that is, our fantasy. Life is all about choices. Meeting the boy may have been by chance but staying with him, being his friend, was the girl’s choice. Whether what they had was real or not, whether it was a fantasy or just an illusion, it still happened. The pain was real, the words were said, and the emotions were felt. I guarantee you though, and I speak from experience and with great wisdom, that no matter how good things get in real life, or no matter how worse, reality will always be better. Pain felt when you’re awake is much easier to move on from, than pain felt when you’re asleep. I don’t want illusion. I want reality or nothing. Everything must be black or white.


Everything must be black or white.

The last line of the last page of G’s manuscript, “Numbered Calls.”

Georgiana placed the manuscript on her lap and sighed. I wrote this? I can’t believe I did. She told herself. I guess I haven’t really moved on, then. She realized. The pain and the pleasure all came together and blended so perfectly in her mind she did not want to let go.  She was once in the bubble she thought wouldn’t pop. But when it did, she didn’t know what to do. She was constantly reminded of the memories and the happiness they once shared. She set aside the manuscript and faced her computer. She began typing.

The clock’s hand will keep on moving.

Time, even if I die, will not be stopping.

Lost time is never found again.

Lost love is never felt again.

We’re left with nothing but regrets, ache, and pain.

The sea hugs the shore.

I hug nothing but my pillow.

She has to forget. She needs to forget. She must.

 

 

 

The alarm clock was blaring.

She woke up.

8:59, it said.

 

THE END

 

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