Can you fall in love with a phone number? Or the person behind it, without meeting them? Jonali Karmakar explores this unique love in a short story for #RomanticRendezvous.
I’m just a number in her long list of contacts. I remind this to myself every day at least once. I shouldn’t get too attached. It wouldn’t end well. It shouldn’t. How can I forget what had happened the last time? And it wasn’t even a long distance relationship like this one! It had been such a sweet high school romance. Not a fling, mind you. We had been steady for almost seven years until everything fell apart. At least for me it did. Not for him surely. He was the one who had married somebody else in hiding, all the while professing his undying love for me. My world turned upside down overnight. All I was left with was a handful of memories slicing open my heart every time I tried to breathe properly. Now this!
This time I’ve restricted myself from falling in love. I tell myself that I can’t fall in love with a number. It’s only that. Just that. A phone number. Ten digits that have slowly helped me overcome the hurt of the past. I can’t deny that it has been my lifeline. That she has been my savior. Not just in happiness, she’s has been with me in sickness and in sorrow. I hadn’t even realized that I had been talking to her for the past four and a half years! It was she who had pointed it out to me while we were talking one night. It had taken me by surprise. I had reacted by going offline. Three days later when I spoke to her again she behaved like nothing had happened. There were no accusations. I didn’t get to apologize. I didn’t need to. It warmed me up towards her even more, if that was even possible. She noticed the change in me of course. She reacted by remaining offline for the next whole week. On the eighth day when she appeared online, we carried on from exactly where we had left off, like nothing had happened.
We were just numbers in each other’s long list of contacts. Or maybe not. It doesn’t matter. She knows the truth and I know the truth even though we haven’t professed verbally. We won’t ever and I can assure you of that. She has a husband to look after and I have my family’s reputation to uphold. Some love stories remain unrequited for life. It doesn’t matter. It shouldn’t. She is there somewhere thinking of me and me alone. And here I am, thinking of her and her alone. We’ll remain numbers. But if that didn’t stop us when we started, I’m certain it wouldn’t stop us ever. The digits keep changing, but the two of us don’t. Bound in numbers, we say. Bound in love we think. Yet it is unreturned love. We don’t fret. She says those that come unsought for are the most valuable. She’s right. We don’t seek. We don’t expect. We don’t hope. We just are. Two numbers; twenty digits.
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