Calling

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I’ve come to realise there are two kinds of unanswered phone calls.

The ones that you ignore – that continue to ring endlessly until it is tossed callously into an answering machine. Leaving me to hastily disconnect the call before the ‘beep’. Or sometimes, when I’m feeling brave, to attempt to leave you a monologue that never seems to have the finesse I hoped for.

“Call me back when you get this” I say, in a tone that makes me feel like a receptionist, or a saleswoman – professional, indifferent, inauthentic. It makes me marvel at how different my tone would’ve been if you had picked up.

If you had, I would’ve sounded like a surgeon in the ER – rummaging through my memory for facts and desperately reaching for tools to salvage what I can. Or maybe I’d sound like a preacher – calm, optimistic, with too much faith and promise built on too little evidence.

I sometimes wonder if you turn your phone face down so it would be easier to ignore. Or if you let it ring loud and clear – so the deafening silence after can reward your resolve.

Guess we’ll never know.

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And then there are the calls that are simply disconnected.

It makes me feel like a gambler,  holding the phone to my ear nervously as I place my bet on which ring would get the axe. Or a sailor stranded at sea – waiting to hear back through a faint signal for rescue until I inevitably drown.
A recorded voice informs me that you are busy, and it hurts a little that it knows you better than I do.

It makes me wonder what it’s like for you. If my calls feel like the last 5 minutes of a final exam – hastily calculating, debating and deliberating if you should pick up. Or if it’s one of those questions they tell you not to waste your time on – and just go with a convenient guess.

Guess we’ll never know.

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And then one day, out of the blue, you picked up.

“Hello” you said.

And at that moment, I could’ve been anyone. A surgeon, a preacher, gambler, sailor, your final exam paper. Or at the very least, a receptionist or saleswoman. But all I was, was speechless.

“Hello?” you said again, only to be met with an empty silence.

I’ve now come to realise there are three kinds of unanswered phone calls.

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