Sometimes it's hard, you know, when you hear that song, see that commercial, not to pick up the phone - it's right next to you, just dial those numbers, and to tell her all about it, hear her voice so low and sweet and mean.
Or when you're sitting in traffic, ice all around you and wind blasting and you've got that idea, you know, the one you've been searching for to make the story complete and your cell, plugged into the cigarette lighter and looking like something from the Vietnam war, well, it's right there, nothing to it - you know the numbers so well, how to dance your fingers over those keys just right, you don't even have to look down to dial; you can pay attention as your car swerves left, then right, on a patch of ice, dance dance dance and a piroeutte over the asphalt and screaming bridgemetal.
And it's so hard, sometimes, not to actually do that, to pick that phone up, to tell her about it, because somewhere, for reasons you can't quite justify anymore, you made a promise to yourself that you wouldn't.
Or when you're sitting by your bed, crimson glowing through dim phosphors that you can't even look at without getting a headache, and you read the cracked words again, as though they've changed, or as though you haven't heard permutations of the exact same ideas before, from the same person, and that glass of colorless alcohol next to you is looking more and more like the only friend you have, unless you count the pillow on the bed which has probably absorbed so many tears in the past month or two that it's salt content rivals that of the Dead Sea. It's hard, sometimes, when you're trying to talk to the steaming styrofoam cup of gas-station cappucino, trying to talk to the picture on the wall, trying to talk to anybody, anything that will listen, and realizing that they aren't. It's hard, then, to not reach out, pick up that phone and dial the numbers, the numbers you know by heart, by memory, by repetition, and by choice, the numbers you dial automatically when the phone is in your hand, because underneath all your DNA's pretention to intelligence, you're no better than Pavlov's dogs. And that phone is in your hand in the steady buzz of the dialtone and it's hard, so hard, to not sequence her code, her transponder, her universal resource locator, her fucking telephone number and tell her all the words that you have no language for.
Or at night, when you're under three blankets, still cold, ten thousand watts of desperation coursing through your neural net, and it all keeps spinning - this room, those walls, that door and the windows; you wonder how that black phone should have such talismanic significance, that inert piece of plastic that in some ways has more life than you do. And your fingers stretch as you grope blindly in the darkness for it, wanting, needing, you could dial once more, and maybe then someone would know you're alive - maybe you need to do that, because otherwise you're lost, drowned by numbers, and with nothing to distinguish yourself, you've got to make as much noise as possible, and scream and scream into that phone, and if showing her you're alive means giving Ma Bell an aneurysm then so be it.
But you promised you wouldn't, you promised to yourself, sometime, for some reason. Like the AA member, like the recovering addict, easy access to slippery slopes and momentary joys bringing assured ruin.. but tick tick tick the numbers slide through you, around you, and your finger is running through them on an imaginary keypad in the air as you repeat her name to yourself, muttering and incoherent until you sleep without really resting and in your dreams, your brain empties its memory buffer, ready to fight it out again tomorrow, ten thousand chances and ten thousand tiny deaths.