• Dr. Melissa Baartman Mork

Writing prompt: Cell Phone

We ended every conversation, every goodbye with “I love you.”  Jimmy Fallon even read my tweet on #Hashtags: “Mistakenly ended a phone call with the boss the way I end each phone call to my husband: “Okay – love you – bye.” #soembarrassing

I’m looking at my cell phone right now.  You surprised me with it — this thing that I carry with me all day; the first thing I touch when I wake up and the last thing I see before I fall asleep.

I had dropped my old phone in the toilet in the hotel in Milwaukee, and that was the end of it. When we got home I dug out an old clunky phone with the cracked screen from the desk drawer and said, “This is fine. This is good enough.”

A month later, I was surprised when you called me and asked, “Are going to be in your office for a while?” I knew something was up. You rarely visited me at work. You walked into my office with a Verizon bag in your hand and this new phone in it, set up with my number and ready to go.

This was so you – thoughtful, generous, spontaneous, anticipating my needs. Surprising me with fun gifts.

It was a really smart gift, though. We talked on the phone all the time. Constantly. Multiple times a day. (My therapist tells me that’s unusual.)

You’d call me: “How is your day going?” “What’s up, Beautiful?” “I’m leaving work now. Do you need anything?” “I’ve got the kids. We’re heading out to the barn.” “Anything particular you want for supper?” “I’m on my way home to you, Honey!”

Sometimes I’d pick up my phone to call you and it would ring in my hand. Or I’d call you and you’d say, “You must have ESPN! I was just about to call you!” We were so in sync.

We’d end every conversation with “I love you.”

If we weren’t talking, we were texting. So many texts! “Where are you?” “Do you have Sam?” “I’m running late.” “I’m sorry. Will you forgive me?” “I’m on my way.” “Can you pick up milk?” “Piper’s game was cancelled.” “Did you mail that letter?” So many logistics in coordinating this life we had created.

But the texts ran deeper, too. “What happened today?” “How are you feeling?” “What did the Doctor say?” “I’m scared.”

“I love you” would end the conversation.

I’m afraid to read through our old texts.  They are all stored on this phone you gave me.

But I can’t read through them. Not yet.

Reading them will mean the end of our conversation.

I love you.

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