“Hello”, a deep rumbling voice in a low tone boomed from the other side on the loudspeaker of the mobile lying on the bed.
“Hey, how have you been?” she responded instantly.
“I’m good, it has been lazy weekdays, and I think I should go for a nocturnal job. Days are always, blissful sleeping.” The way he extended the last three words was as such he was already dreaming.
“Hehe, poor you, caught in the wrong place huh?” she asked, in a casual tone.
“Wrong place, hmm maybe!” he replied.
“Are you so straightforward to everyone? I mean you are kind of, you know…” she tried to show some interest in the question.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I mean, you talk in ‘As a matter of fact’ tone, you know, not very creative!” she tried to explain cautiously but confidently.
“Yeah, I don’t have much creativity. My potential artistry is limited to the sunrise scenery with crayons, the ones I drew in first class. It never took any subtle form.” He said in his careless conversing deep whispering tone, still each word mouthed with precision and pause, but continuous nevertheless.
“I see you juggle with words quite well. But tell me, why do you tell me everything I ask about you? No matter what!” as if wondering for the answers, she asked him.
“Well because you don’t ask tough questions. And I trust…” He replied promptly.
“What? In a person you don’t quite meet? More conveniently a stranger?” she was a little baffled with what he said.
“No, in the assumption that I would never come to know how your friends laugh at me and never fail to comment when you tell them about me, about what I tell you.” He said, without much care to what he was saying, and to whom.
“Hey what do you mean, I don’t tell anybody about this, why would I? How can you say it without even knowing me?” she retorted back as if she had been shot in the arm, this time picking up the cellphone in her hands.
“This is my story, I ought to know it.” He said something, and her expression was grim, as if he had caught him red handed.
“You are crazy!” perplexed, said she.
“I told you in the first place, I won’t be easy and I ain’t sorry either.” He said, somehow apologetically but yet affirming.
“Yeah right, weirdo, as if I give a damn for sorries!” she was trying to take control of the situation now. “So if you think I do all such things as you imagine, then why do you tell all these things to me?”
“I told you, I have trust. It doesn’t harm me. And because you live with friends, together in one place, I can imagine what level of privacy you all withhold.” He explained without being asked.
“As if you are our landlord? You are just … uff!” she tried to convey how miffed she was right now. Sometimes telephone is not enough, when we desperately need to grab somebody by the neck and ask them straight in the eye, ’what is your problem mister?’
“Heh” he countered her ridicule with such arrogance, a small mocking cough did it.
“What’s so funny, you know right now you are disgusting me… I wonder how your friends tolerate all this” she said in an angry wounded tone.
“Oh am really sorry for that, I think I must hang up, I won’t hurt you today anymore. As for my friends, I am a different man with them. There are some things which hurt when touched too often, by familiar hands and friends just love stamping on that hurting nerve. Maybe that’s why I retire to my flat, while they party all night in the next flat.” He said in a thinking voice, as if hurt by something.
She took a deep sigh of anguish, mixed emotions needed to be cleared before saying anything further. What? So soon, he just called a few moments ago, now he’s hanging up? Who is he anyways? As if I care. But what if he doesn’t call again? No I can’t let that be. But then I cannot give up yet. Not so fast. I need my turn too. And why would it matter. He doesn’t seem to care, he’s crazy, so stupid, crazy, idiot…argh!! He’s just an acquaintance, no big deal, but… I am being such a silly…
“Yeah, I don’t understand most of it, it seems you are just… toying with…leave it!” she did not notice herself speak this, but then regained herself before she could complete it.
He chuckled a bit on the phone, “Someday, you will… Night!”
Now this was too much to take, “Not even a ‘good night’? What are you?” she demanded furiously.
He kept the phone a little distant from his mouth and burst out laughing, “Oh I am so sorry … good night!”
“See, that’s him, an asshole for sure!” she said, fuming.
“Is he clairvoyant? How could he know?” one of her friends had been sitting by her side throughout.
She tried to mimic him and guffawed “This is my story, I ought to know it!” dangling her head from side to side before they burst out laughing.
“He’s good, seemed magnetic to me” her friend remarked.
“Really? I think he’s strange. Besides, he knows how to get on to nerves quite well” she defended.
“I am starting to sort of like him, his voice has something. What did you say, how he looked?” her friend asked, taking much interest in him now, pretending to be drawing his shape from the details.
“Are you kidding? He is crazy!” she dodged the question.
“Whatever…His voice doesn’t hurt. It’s so full of nonchalance and delicate balance that it’s contagious. The tone is measured up and overtly cautious and precise. As if he has rehearsed those dozens of time. As if he really wrote this story for himself. I just wished he spoke a bit more today... Gosh, now he’s messing with my head too. I think we should sleep. Good night n sleep well” her friend said as she made her way towards the door.
“Goodnight!” she smiled back as she followed her to close the door behind her.
As she shut the door with her back resting against it, she was half smiling, swaying to the rhythm of the track playing on the neighbour’s radio,
“Coz opposites attract this way,
If day is night and night is day,
If loving you is wrong then babe,
Wrong is right,
I ain’t losing the fight!!”
(Bryan Adams, Oxygen, ‘I ain’t losing the fight’)
“Don’t you dare think of him, I like him too!”