Chibimagic's Weblog

Phone

Posted on: January 2, 2014

“Use my phone,” he commands, and I obey. I grope around in the dark for the aux cable, then run my finger along the edges, feeling for his headphone jack. Top middle. The lock button is on the side.

“Unlock code?” I ask, holding it up so he can keep one hand on the wheel and one eye on the road. He starts describing the gesture for me to perform, but I already saw it over his shoulder earlier that day. I trace it before he finishes explaining.

I struggle with the app. The OS is unfamiliar and taps don’t do what they should. But soon music is pouring from his speakers.

Task complete, I hesitate before setting down his phone. It feels wrong to have this much access; too personal. As if I’m holding his heart in my hands. I turn it over slowly, and graze the warm red rubberized-plastic back with my fingertips. Ta-thump. Ta-thump.

“How much further?” he asks a little later, eyeing the estimated range remaining for the tank. I pick up his phone and repeat the dance: press, swipe, tap, tap. “Thirty more miles,” I report, being careful not to tap on faces in circles that would pull up message logs and histories. One face I recognize: one of the few friends of his that I met when we were together. As I switch back to the music app, a new notification rolls across the top of his screen. I avert my eyes before I can read it, but I catch the name anyway. This is not a part of his life I should have access to, I think.

The rituals repeat themselves a few more times: song requests; navigation questions. Each time I pick up his phone and repeat the swipe. It feels too intimate still. Like stepping around a corner and suddenly finding him fresh out of the shower, towel around his waist as he brushes his teeth.

At one point his roommate requests his phone so he can choose a song. I pick it up from the center console and almost hand it to him, then pull back and trace the unlock code. “Oh, I know his code,” he comments, matter-of-factly. Of course. He hands it back to me after selecting his song. I set it down in the seat beside me, resting against my hip.

Soon he’s had enough of his seat warmer. He fumbles for the off switch but has difficulty locating it while watching the road. I reach out and switch it off for him without thinking, and he replies with a murmur of thanks. Suddently the act seems overly domestic. I have a brief flash of a possible future: driving back from Disneyland, children exhausted and happy in the backseat, my hand squeezing his thigh in a quiet gesture of support and appreciation.

I stare out the window, not thinking of white elephants and his phone. Periodically it buzzes against my hip and I watch the notification bubbles accumulate across the top menu bar. So much of his life sits in this 5 inch slab. Like peeking over the edge of a cliff; dizzying. A pool of vertigo seeps through my body.

I close my eyes. A sensation—of falling—in—

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