How Not to Drunkenly Remember a Number

Our third breakup feels a little inconclusive. She’s still deep in the depressive episode that caused her to retreat into radio silence; I’m still reeling from the anxiety I experienced trying to stick by her while ignoring my own dysthymia. But now, without the expectations that come with the labels of “boyfriend” and “girlfriend”, we’re experiencing a post-relationship relationship, procrastinating instead of getting over each other.

She likes to call me randomly and talk about whatever’s going on in her life. How her new job sucks, how her new place is okay, how her new fish is, well, an ordinary fish — the minutiae of her life is available to me with little to no prompting. Considering the past two months, that actually makes me mad. On her birthday I don’t call her. I don’t even text her, a tradition we managed to uphold years before. The next day she calls me and asks me why that is.

“I didn’t text you because I don’t think we should talk anymore,” I say, bluntly. “You text me now more than you did when we were dating, and that’s really unfair.” I hear her start to sniffle on the other end of the line. “So… don’t call me anymore.” She cries and I think I hear her sob the word “no”. “I’m going to hang up now,” I tell her. She sobs the word “don’t”, but instead of obliging I tell her goodbye and hang up. I feel surprisingly calm.

I had deleted her contact information so I wouldn’t feel that weird mix of joy and remorse from reading her name when she texted. Now I delete the texts and call history, removing any trace of her number from my phone. It sucks, but now I can work on moving on.

Two weeks later I want to talk to her.

I pop open a bottle of red wine and start to rationalize this. I’m pretty sure I remember her number. I saw it pop up on my phone’s screen a lot before I told her to stop calling me. Plus, I’ve already shown that I can remember her number for a long time and text it when I’m at my lowest. I might as well text her now, to save myself the trouble of doing it later. Halfway through the bottle I punch in a number and compose a text.

Hey, if this is — , then, I still remember your number, and I’m sorry. I pour myself another glass. I get a text back.

Nope, this isn’t — ‘s number.

I blink. It isn’t? I get another text.

But, you should probably call her. Apologizing through text’s pretty cold, dude.

Holy shit. I texted the wrong number and got advice back from a stranger. Or maybe… Maybe it is her number, but she’s telling me I should call if I want to really apologize, otherwise what’s done is done. I finish another glass.

I’m not really in the habit of calling strange numbers, I hesitantly write. Besides, if I did forget the number, I guess that means it’s all okay. I read the text over and over again to make sure it makes sense, regardless of whether I’m sending it to her or to a stranger.

I pour the rest of the bottle into my glass. Was that her number? Was she giving me a way out of opening back up a line of communication I had so cleanly closed? Or was she just trying to hurt me for reaching out? I read through the texts again. I inspect the number. Wait. If that five was a seven and those sevens were fives… I punch in the modified number, this time simply texting her name followed by a question mark.

Yes? She texts back.

I laugh incredulously.

I explain to her what just happened. She tells me she’s glad I changed my mind. She was on the verge of calling me despite what I said, anyways. I tell her I only asked her not to call me because I thought it would help me get over her. It didn’t stop me from immediately thinking about her whenever my phone went off.

I ask her what she’s doing right now. She says nothing. I ask if I can see her. She says to give her an hour to run an errand, but after that, yes. I can head over.

Way It Was is a writing project and ongoing attempt to work through a lot of relationship related shit. Find out more about it here.

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