It was one of those days that was going to be lots of talk and very little achieved. It was the kind of day that you got through faking a smile while internally gritting your teeth. So when my phone rang I could not be bothered to look at the name flashing on it. Sure that it would be another irritant, I answered a quick unfriendly ‘hello’. The voice said ‘Hello?’ But what it really said was, “Is that really you? When I knew you, you didn’t sound like that?”
I then held the phone away and looked at the name in disbelief.
How often we put phone numbers into our contact lists and never call them. How many times we add ‘friends’ to our Facebook page and just let them become a part of the list?
So here was a voice that I knew when I was just a girl. Only me. Not a wife, not a mother, not an employee, not even a full-grown adult. From a time when I was going to save all the orphans in the world single-handedly. From a time when it was more important to get home before curfew than to not drive at 120 kmph on a narrow, curvy road. When the sandwiches from the local vendor were better than the five-star that we were forced to eat at after a late night at the disco. When dancing together was intimacy and a kiss was a scandal.
And the voice was asking me if it was really me.
A few choice bad words later, it was confirmed that we both were really who we said we were. Something that a flashing name on a phone could not have done.
I was asking if he still had that haircut (read as: did your father’s genes catch up with you and are you now balding). He was saying…I don’t remember, but I know it made me smile.
I was asking if he still went to the gym (read as: I hope to God you have put on at least as much weight as I have, or then I scream out “I HAD A BABY!” and “MEN DONT MENOPAUSE!”)
He was saying you sound exactly the same. Except for the ‘hello’. And I was saying come to town on the weekend, weekdays are really busy.
But what I really wanted to say was ” Why the hell do you keep re-appearing as regularly as a seven-year itch?”
The conversation lasted all of fifteen minutes. However, for those fifteen minutes I was back to being the girl who had her entire life before her. The girl for whom every doubt was a certainty. The girl who could fit into clothes without having to try them on. The girl who could do it all without knowing what the ‘all’ was.
And the girl, who was just a girl, before she became so many other things.
I grieved momentarily for all that was lost, all that could never be.
But pseudo-youth like youth, is fickle. And where is the time to grieve when there is so much fun to be had?
So here’s wishing you all a happy new year and a voice from the past…