Written on 12th November, 2015 at 12:58 AM
Do you know what irony is? Life throws it at us once in a while. Most of the times it catches us unaware. But at times, sometimes that is, at very rare times, you realize it but by then of course it is too late. The ironic instance has passed by you. You just missed it in the moment. One such instance has happened to me in recent memory. Not more than a week, or two ago. I wanted to ask of her to call me the moment she sat on the plane. I had tried calling her twice, thrice the day of her flight, but she hadn’t picked up my call. I decided to message her to call me, “call me when you are sitting in the plane”, was how the message would go. But then I decided against it. I felt it was too desperate of me. What’d she think, I thought. We had been apart for quite some time now, and to ask this of a person was a huge deal. You can only ask it if you have been very close, not once but throughout till the time of their departure. But we hadn’t. I thought she’d think how desperate is this guy, why would he want me to call him, to be the last voice she hears before she departs for another continent. Why should I be the last person she talks to while her feet are still on the same stretched ground as mine? I thought she must have other people to talk to, more important people, like perhaps her parents. “Mum, dad, I’m in the plane,” she’d tell them over a phone call as they waited for her outside in the airport parking lot. Why would they leave the airport before their daughter took off? They probably wanted to hear the plane revving its engines up, maybe take off too. That would assure them that their daughter was safe, in the plane, going to another chunk of land altogether, separated by miles and miles of ocean. “Take care of yourself,” her parents would tell her, as if it needed be said, but unspoken words are too much of a burden. We ought to say things often, before it’s too late. I thought she wasn’t even thinking of me then, what with so many people waiting on her. My existence would be the last thought that’d ever occur to her. Once you get in the plane, it hits you that you are leaving your family back here, you start questioning what the future holds for you, what will a new place do for you. But those questions were probably whirring in her mind, never to surface. Anyways, as I said, I must be the last thought she ought to have.
Around eight at night, I called her again but she didn’t pick up. I assumed she was busy with last minute flight preparations, greeting family members, her cousins and grandparents, and uncles and aunts. She had a big family. Her phone must be on silent. I knew I had missed her. I should have called her earlier to say goodbye, among other things I wanted to say. Perhaps I should have called her at five, when she would have been relatively free, maybe even waking up from a small nap. I had lost my chance, and that was that. I would never get to hear her voice whilst she remained in the country. I didn’t know when I would next hear from her. It saddened me greatly but I had to get through that night, and get through it without her thoughts bothering me much. So I decided to get high. I had been getting high continuously for the past three days, and I had never had such a long run with it. Tonight would mark the fourth day, and it’d help me immensely to get over a gut-wrenching pain I can’t explain. I felt like my innards were whizzing around within me, my stomach seemed to be a zero-g cavity, and my mind was all over the place, just scattered. After nine, I couldn’t muster a single coherent thought. But I had to get through that night. So I smoked up, smoked up real good. I put my phone on silent and went to sleep. The kind of sleep that often overtakes me when I’m high. A dreamless sleep. Dreaming another dream about her was the last thing I needed that night. I decided to call her one last time at precisely 11:20 PM. And then I slept.
I woke up suddenly sometime around midnight. I don’t know what woke me up exactly, but my arm naturally spurred in the direction of my phone. I unlocked it and saw a missed call. It was from her. She had called me at 11:27 PM. Just a mere seven minutes after I had slept. I had missed her call because my phone was on silent. Because I didn’t want to hear its nauseating vibrations when I am high and asleep. I loathe that. But that made me miss her call. I had lost again, I thought to myself. I immediately tried calling back. I must have called her seven, eight times in a mere minute. The worst part of it was I could hear no dial tone, no busy tone, no operator telling me “the number you are dialing is turned off, please try later” or “the number you are dialing is currently inaccessible, please try again.” Nothing. Zilch. It was just silence, and then the call would automatically drop, leaving me looking at the black wallpaper on my phone, baffled. I kept trying again and again to reach her, thinking the whole while to myself, maybe I’ll get her now, and maybe I’ll hear a beep this time, maybe an operator this time. I called and called but nobody picked up. I was hoping for signals to reach her in Bangkok, a layover, she had told me earlier. Maybe by some opportune, timeless miracle her phone signals would catch mine all the way out of this country into another. It was a preposterous thought but the likelihood of it happening seemed too real for me. But no, it was all silence. Pitch black, harrowing, silence. I had really missed her this time. And that too, just by a mere half hour. Our five years had condensed into those seven minutes of missed calls on both ends. It was comedic timing at best. Irony of unbounded proportion. So I smoked up another doobie and went to sleep this time, only to wake up the next morning. It was a dreamless sleep.
It was Friday then. It was Saturday next and I woke up to a few messages, five to be exact. All they said were “Thank you so much”, “I tried calling you from the plane”, “Anyways”, “I’m in Melbourne” and “Keep in touch.” I re-read the second message again and again, over and over. And that was it. Irony. Beautiful irony, woeful irony, dramatic irony, Irony with a capital ‘I’.