I lost my phone last night.
It feels like I have lost an arm.
I am sitting in a cafe, and I see people living in the opulent comfort of holding their device, their most intimate personal computers, close to their sides. All of them. No exceptions, and I feel envy. The discomfort I am already feeling increases a thousand fold.
My unease is palpable and shockingly physical. There is a tightness in my stomach and I feel as though someone is squeezing my chest hard from inside, and the middle of my chest hurts. My spine is frozen, and painful. Emotionally, I feel guilty, weak, helpless, anxious. I imagine a thousand scenarios where I might have lost it. I wonder if it is in some bad person’s stealing hands, or if it has been crushed under the wheels of a truck. I see my poor phone, my dearest friend, in agony — trying to reach me, but entirely powerless without my fingers.
My fingers. I crave for the touch of the glossy glass on them. The constant downward glance, the flipping open, the imperceptible fondling, the silent communication of warmth and comfort. I can be on my own, so long as I am with my phone. I can pretend to be happily self-sufficient, my complete, confident self transcended beyond the social needs of my race. I can meet the eyes of strangers and immediately look away, and then quickly at my dear phone. Everyone would know that I have class, that I am upwardly mobile on the social scale, that I am to be envied, for what an sexy phone I have got.
Today, the absence is acute. For a change, I notice that it has been many months since I paid attention to the colours and shades of my lawn, to the constant nagging pain in my jaw, to the way my bare feet feel on the cold stone floor. My hands itch to have a rectangular something by my side, that I can reassuringly lay my palm on every now and then.
Without thinking about it, I start the hunt for my old phone. I look through my closet and when I find it, I let out a great sigh, and the hint of a vague smile. I already feel much better. This moment, as I type this article, it sits to my left on the table, and I glance at it fondly and turn it on to see the time.
Still, I do not have a number, and I need to go the store of my service provider and get a new sim card. I am on my way to doing that. It has only been a few hours since I discovered its loss, and only a few minutes since I confirmed it with all my friends and people who might potentially have spotted it and kept it for safekeeping. I looked everywhere in my car — three times. Under the mats, in the boot, behind the sunshades. Nowhere to be found. I turned my house upside down. Nothing still.
It is most likely stolen, for it says switched off for many hours. And I know that the battery was not low.
The anxiety is killing me. My head is pounding, I am finding it hard to breathe. Perhaps it is from the stress of the moment, or perhaps from the aftermath of the alcohol that I had a bit too much of last night. Most likely, it is from the cumulative guilt from all the above. The tiny voice in my head that is always too loud is on repeat: “Careless. Ungrateful. Careless. Ungrateful.”
My father had gifted me this brand new phone, very expensive, only last month. I had loved it so much and made him grand promises of how carefully I am going to keep it. I open Skype and call him, I tell him what has happened. He is soft and kind. He says, “Don’t worry about it. It happens.” This kills me most of all. “Careless. Graceless. Absent-minded. Absent from the present. Lost in your own head. Careless. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.” The headache throbs on.
What of my data, always the most precious. The 32GB memory card. The HD quality photographs. Recordings of personal conversations. Song ideas. Selfies. I disconnected all my accounts first thing last night since I realised its potential misplacement. I changed my Google password, and revoked access to my Evernote account (that contains Everything). I activated the Android Device Manager. I hesitated to delete all the info. I still had some hope I would find it. But I have to do it.
I shall do it after I insert my new sim card in my old phone and can be on Whatsapp again. After I have read all the messages that I have missed so far. After I connect to Facebook again. And Instagram, and Tumblr and Twitter. After I buy another storage card and feed all my photos on it to look at and to blog. After I sleep for at least an hour with my phone next to my head, and the moment I wake up, I pick it up, check for new messages and once again, feel peace in my heart.