Veerp veerp. I do my best to ignore it but the more I try to forget it the more omnipresent the vibration becomes. Veerp veerp. Reluctantly I peer across the room at the passive aggressive blue lighting, my bedside locker tinged by its desperate attention seeking pleas. I stretch out an arm and furiously reef my I-Phone off the floor, nearly toppling a pint of water in the process. A glance at the screen reveals seven missed Whatsapp messages all from him. What kind of an asshole asks for a news update punctuated with a smiley face at 4.50am? I reply with “Good babe and you? x” in autopilot hoping he’s not by his phone until I see he’s already typing a response. Jesus this guy is unrelenting.
It all seemed so harmless two years ago. I knew he was due to be stationed out in Afghanistan in the next few months which suited me down to the ground as I wasn’t really all that into him to begin with. Everything about our last few weeks together had such an exotic feel and excitement to them. Everyday minutia tinged with significance; his last hotdog, our last movie together, the last family gathering etc. My life played like a bad romance novel with heightened melodrama attached to non-existent sentiment. I love you more than life itself he’d say no longer restrained by social protocol. Every single word saturated with faux poignancy and significance, deep pregnant pauses attached to even the most basic of questions. Everyone in town seemed more than happy to embrace the charade and regularly praised him for “fighting the good fight”. “You give them towel headed camel jockeys one for me.” strangers would say with a camaraderie usually reserved for long term friends.
Before he left he asked me to wait for him and I duly obliged figuring he’ll be too busy fighting the good fight to remember me or die in the process. Unfortunately movies had left me poorly informed as to the daily life of a soldier. I expected 5am drills followed by soul destroying tactical manoeuvres, training, and week long missions. In reality he was a glorified crossing guard with an inordinate amount of free time on his hands. For the most part he shepherded insurgents from one camp to another or fooled around back at base with his “brothers”.
“God I wish u were bside me right now baby” finally arrives just as I’m dozing back to sleep, followed by “I want u so bad” and the inevitable “I’m so horny for you.” I reply back with a stream of kisses before waiting five minutes and sending back a video of me fingering myself that I filmed earlier. I devised this sad tactic in order to buy some precious sleeping time in lieu of the twenty three and a half hour time difference. The only thing worse than being abruptly woken from a few hours sleep is forcing yourself to make an impromptu sex-tape in the early hours of a freezing cold morning.
Living through the banality of life once is bad enough without having to relive everything again vicariously. “What did you have for diner? Send me a picture?” “Howz the dog doing? Send me a picture? What are you wearing today? Send me a picture”. My life reduced to nothing more than a sad string of third rate paparazzi photographs. By the time he was three months away I was averaging about four hours sleep a night. Drunken phone calls at seemingly improbable hours, “say hello to Richie bay-bee. I fuckin’ looooove this guy.” floating around my head through closed eyes and gritted teeth. When I finally went to the doctor he diagnosed me, behind a fatherly smile, with a “broken heart” until I cried so hard I couldn’t stop. He gave me a script for a week’s supply of Ambien which I gracefully gobbled up in one hand granting me a three day reprieve until I woke up on Monday to 72 missed calls and 178 missed text messages. Those three days ranking among the greatest of my life; a fuzzy cocoon of warmth and surrender. Since then I’ve resorted to regularly “breaking” or water boarding my phone in a vain attempt to recapture the magic except now Ambien’s been replaced with Seroxat leaving me in a constant state of fatigue; too tired to sleep and too numb to feel relief. This plan also proved futile as the paranoid barrage of questions resulted in more phone calls, more texting and more manufactured drama. “It’s that Zedinski kid isn’t it? That little Jew schmuck.” He’d roar, hoarse with Jim Bean and deflated pride. I’d try my best to reassure him he was crazy in my toneless demeanour which only served to antagonize him further. “What has the prick got that I don’t? I’m over here laying my life on the line so you can enjoy your freedom and fuck that douchebag” He’d rage, “Don’t you love me?”
“Of course I’d do. Shhhhhhhhhhhhh…” I’d say trying to calm him down, soothing myself to sleep.
By the time the obligatory dick pic comes through I bolt up out of my sleep into an upright position, breathing heavily. “Thanks baby that was great. I can’t wait to do this for real” accompanied by an emoticon of a pumped bicep. I text back my undying love before throwing my phone back on the floor and sliding back into a comatose sleep. In my heavily medicated dreams everything has a very symbolic and deep textured yet abstract feel. I walk towards the light and let it heal and cleanse while patiently waiting for it to reveal its higher purpose…