The Telephone Tells A Love Story


Life is vicious, like a rabid mad dog, I can tell you that. Didn’t use to be that way but it definitely is now. I think the world might be getting too dense, too suffocating, like everyone out there is getting pounded real hard, so they’re only three-fourths of their original size and, well, humanity. The air must be too condensed and saturated with microscopic droplets of sweat and blood and spit and oil. And I guess the grounds can’t be walked anymore because they’ve risen up, swallowing trees, plants, and every crawling green that’s fresh to the eyes and to the brains. They’ve now turned into tentacles of a gigantic toxic monster egging people to go to places that lead to nowhere. So the people are lost; and the sky must not be too much of a comfort for them too, because in its untainted innocence, it only serves to push down guilt and shame and senselessness into their throats.

That is why you get people who whisper “I love yous” to each other in the morning and throw murderous curses to each other at night. Blame them for my unfit body and soul. I got this guy Ted who’s always on my left ear — he’s generally a nice guy. Talks about .NET and CSS and HTML and other goddamn strange jargon all the time with a guy with a funny accent on the other line on my right. Harry’s the name, if I remember correctly. I think they might be up to something heroic to save the perishing world ’cause they’re always exchanging smart incomprehensible stuff about “problems” and “solutions.” I never did get what they mean but whoever this “client” guy was, he isn’t gonna be better off once Ted and Harry figure out how to save the world. So Ted — as I said, ideal guy, if you ask me. He takes care of his grandma Lucy from Mondays ’til Fridays, making sure she takes her meds ’cause she’s got a whopping lump ’round her neck. Which reminds me, that’s also the problem they got out there today: everyone has a fatal disease.

Ted is — was — madly in love with this girl, Rachel. Can’t blame him because this girl sounds like an angel, not just any other angel, but the higher ranked ones because I know angels got ranks. Sometimes I could’t tell if this girl is singing or speaking, maybe both. Whenever I get reminded of her voice, my tummy does a backflip and my spine cracks at the sims. Rachel works for this big, big kickass company and all she does is meet people there, 9 hours a day. She provides them with all the info they need, including the weird ones, like when an old man with raisin-like moles came up to her and couldn’t speak because he was in so much agony. Turns out he was just tryin’ to find the bathroom because his ass was about to get bust. Said afterward he got cancer down there — again: everyone has a fatal disease.

So Ted and Rachel, they’re quite a silent couple. They do nothing exciting at all except watch movies every weekend, very typical to the point of being meaningless. But they love — loved — each other very much. At 5:00 AM, you can hear the chickens in the background, Ted would always ask Rachel if she’s already getting ready to go to work. Very plain stuff: “What are you doing now? Are you gonna be busy today? Cab or train?” And Rachel would say, “I’m applying shadows. This always takes a while,” “I’m never busy there.” and “Cab. Definitely.” You see, there’s nothing unique about their conversations. They’re like talking just because they like to hear each other’s voice. Then just before Rachel goes to the bathroom, Ted would whisper “I love you” in the softest, faintest manner that you’d have to be none other than Rachel to catch it. Rachel would say, “I love you too, sweetheart,” so contrastingly firm and loud that you’d jump.

Then at work, they’d be exchanging a few notes about how they’re doing in their respective holes. Ted would say, “Harry’s bangin’ his head on the wall again. The client got him. He said he’ll have his head on a platter once we get this guy from India.” Rachel would listen to these tiny stories so quietly it’s as if Ted’s stupidly talking to himself. She’d say, “I’m sure Harry’ll get it all figured out. He’s not the top gun there for no reason.” I don’t know why but Harry always becomes the center of their talks like he’s a one-man soap opera both of them avidly watch. Then it’s Rachel’s turn. “This new team is so loud they’re freaking me out! Especially, Josh, Mark, and Nes. They’re like the three stooges. How these guys can be useful to this company is beyond me.” They go on like that, pitching complaints one after another before ending their conversations with “Are you ok?” and “Can’t wait to get home.” Ted whispers “I love you,” Rachel says, “I love you too, sweetheart.”

At night they don’t talk much except on weekends, probably because they’re already too tired of talking face-to-face because they meet every night at this pastry house once they get off. Ted would just sometimes yawn on my left ear, say, “Bed, finally. Is it Thursday or Friday? Oh, Friday. Well, goodnight. I love you.” And Rachel, “Me, too. I’ll just wash these shadows off then I’m off to bed too. Sweet dreams. I love you, sweetheart.”

It went on and on like this for about two years since Ted climbed to the roof of their college dormitory to wave a flag saying “Rachel Rocks!” And then one night — boom. The rabid mad dog of a world catches up to them, biting them both in their legs, blood everywhere, spit, sweat and oil. They become infected with what’s hopelessly evil out there, reducing their size to three-fourths of their own original selves, shredding off their humanity. They couldn’t stop roaming cluelessly, unable to see where the dark tentacle road ends. The whole world swallows them whole, creaming them inside its vile stomach. It spits them out, alive, skeletal, barely breathing.

That night, Ted and Rachel already knew beforehand their little cute sandcastle was going bye-bye. Rachel surprisingly was the one who started with, “Don’t you trust me?” See? Even when they’re fighting they sound so cliche and normal. But I guess normal fights still hurt like hell. “NO I CAN’T TRUST YOU ON THIS!” Ted blurts out. Needless to say, I almost got blood clot up my brain. “Stop shouting please.” “FUCK!” “Stop cursing!” “I still can’t understand how you were able to fathom it.” “First, I didn’t fathom it. Second, I know nothing happened.” “YOU KNOW nothing happened, but I know and he knows SOMETHING happened!” “That’s because you don’t trust me at all.” “Oh you don’t wanna go there. Franz, Billy, Jake and now this fucktard Mark.” “Those are all over. Why won’t you believe me? You said you were convinced before and now you’re digging them all up again. I was drunk, all of us. But I know, I JUST KNOW that nothing happened!” “YOU DON’T KNOW! You just told me a while ago you felt weird and you’re all too messed up that — ” “I EXAGGERATED A BIT.” “NO YOU DIDN’T. You just want this to go on when it’s obvious you can’t shut your holes up! This is over. This is fucking over.” “No, please Ted, give me a chance to explain this to you. Let’s talk to Iggy and Kate, they were there, too. They’ll tell you — they’ll tell you –”

And then Ted was crying, crying on the other line. It’s always funny when a guy cries because you know it’s the highlight of the show his put up his whole life.

“Forgive me, Ted. I won’t ever do it again. I promise. I’ll do anything. I beg you. I’m coming down there now.” “NO, DON’T! DON’T YOU COME HERE, YOU — ” “Please, please…”

And then Rachel was crying. Nothing funny there.

“I hate you,” Teddy said. “I hate you so much I wanna hurt you really bad.” “Ted…” “I fucking hate you.” “But I love you,” whispered Rachel.

Cruel phone drop.


If there’s something I feel for people, it’s pity. This world they’re living in? It should be hurled into a dump site, incinerated. God or whoever deity should create or buy a new one, preferrably with panic buttons and emergency exits. My heart is wrenched by the fact that people just can’t draw a straight line or a perfect circle. Somewhere along the way, they’ll mess up pretty badly. That’s a law of nature right there. No matter how hard they try to do good, how much they experiment in their relationships, they’re gonna fail. It’s like they’re doomed to bitterly hate each other in the end because they loved each other so much at first. All of them have a price to pay for their luck. Why? Don’t ask me. I’m just here every day, hearing things.

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