I’m not much one for phones, even though I’m retro enough to still have both landline and mobile. Sometimes when my parents call I forget you have to press the green button to answer and I find myself standing there with it held to my ear, still ringing. No, seriously.
The boy and I never spoke on the phone before he went away. Never. We made arrangements by text, discussed more complicated stuff by email. I was ok with that. I’m pretty sure I sound stupid on the phone. I can never think of what to say, especially when I first pick up. I’m always tempted to say ‘Hey!’ but then I’m basically 15-year-old me, sitting on my mum’s bed, wrapping the cord around my fingers for hours on the phone to my best friend.
I don’t know why he started calling. It just happened. I liked it. When I phoned him, it was usually to fight, but when he called, it was always more interesting, both more light-hearted and more intense. Especially once I started doing teacher training in the evenings.
I’d rarely be home before midnight and I’d be knackered, but still running with ideas. Still desperate to talk to someone, to bounce my thoughts off them. And once, maybe twice, he called at just the right time for that.
‘Yes?’ I’d say. If you don’t want to sound like a 15-year-old girl on the phone, why not aim for harassed secretary instead?
‘I was thinking about something,’ he’d say, ‘And I wondered if I could run it past you?’
I loved those conversations. I’d pad back down the stairs, with the phone tucked against my shoulder and open the fridge in the dark. Pour myself another glass of wine without turning the kitchen light on. Pad back upstairs. Put the wine on my chest of drawers and unzip my dress, chatting the whole time. Hop into bed in my knickers, asking questions, disagreeing, laughing…
We used to go on for hours like that, sometimes.