Suddenly, She Was There

I’d been avoiding smartphones, using a basic phone for a while, partly because of a self-imposed exile from noise. But I got another smartphone because I had found a half decent reason to and a way to make it work for me without subjecting me to too much noise. I’d thought this through, as I always do – cool, rational. I’d pay for data when I wanted it, subsisting instead on WiFi so I wouldn’t get charged for WhatsApp jokes I’d seen and even posted years ago.

It’s a sound plan that allows me a discrete camera for street shots, so I can blend with the writing. It’s not a great camera, but I let that lay for the price. The price of freedom is sometimes compromise.

And so, despite the work of the helpful young woman who set basic things up on the store, I went through the Android device and configured it as I wanted it.

I logged into my Google account, set up email, pulled my contacts, etc.

And today, as I was about to send a text to someone, the SMS app helpfully showed those I messaged the most and… after all of this time… her name was there.

Her name. Hers. That name. The name I don’t speak often for fear of it all boiling over. The conversations late at night, the text messages flying back and forth, our secret codes. Her name.

That conversation at 2 a.m. about whether she should have that surgery to have her other ovary removed. The hopeless conversations about endometriosis, a sinister condition for her. The idiocy at her job, hew she had invested so much of her life into the company to see it being pulled in a direction that diminished her.

It wasn’t all bad or it wouldn’t have been. We had well matched quills, and for two people who were noted for being stubborn we had an odd habit of listening to each other and of being able to communicate with a word or a glance. We had the crazy nights where she sang country songs I hated, or where she put up with my own insanity as I bubbled up from the other world I visit as often as I can. The way we pushed against each other to allow us to be more ourselves, the way our backs immediately came together when we were surrounded by the idiots.

Then there was the shock of her suicide that wasn’t as much of a shock as a painful finality for me. She’d told me what she would do when the pain was too much for her and I thought it was… not as soon. That there was time.

There wasn’t.

We wonder about those things even when we understand them.

And after all these months, she’s the one I message the most according to Google.

And she’s gone, but still pulled a final ‘gotcha’ on me.

Brat. I do miss her.

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