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Have you ever called someone with a heavy heart, yet scared excitement hoping he will pick up? At the same time, you do not want him to pick up…

  • Each ring makes your heart skip a beat because your mind is filled with remembering what you want to say to him.
  • You want your voice to sound a certain way, so you keep clearing your throat hoping no mucus will be in the way making your voice crack.
  • In your head, you are also counting the number of times the phone rang.
    • After the third time, you expected him to pick up, but then you hear the ring again.
    • After the fifth time, there is a pause. At least, you hear the pause. You thought he picked up, so you say, “Hello? Hello. HELLO?!” But then a ring interrupts you in the middle of your last “hello.
  • You keep switching hands holding your phone because your hands are getting sweating. And it is not just your hands that are getting sweaty, the side of your face is heating up from the long contact on the phone’s surface. Let’s not forget your ears that have been pressed back by your phone and the direct ringing of the call.
  • Sometimes you do not notice when this first happens, but you will notice when your legs are suddenly shaking on their own. You do not remember when you started doing it, but you cannot stop it right now. Your legs become restless.
  • Yet, you are still sitting on the edge of your chair being attentive to the ringing of your phone.

Each ring seems like an eternity apart. You sometimes start to wonder if regular phone calls took this long of a wait. You would think back to when you last called your parents, and it didn’t take this long. You would think back to the last person you called who probably only took two rings before they picked up and said, “what’s up?” Actually, the last time you spoke on the phone with someone, they called you!

The ringing finally stopped. But this time, it is real. You are not startled by a follow up ring. You have reached the voicemail automated voice message that is telling you, “Sorry, the person you are trying to call is currently unavailable right now. Please hang-up and try again, or leave a message after the tone. beep~” 

When this happens to you, what kind of emotion are you feeling? Do you feel sad? Or is disappointment the word you are looking for? Do you feel angry? Or the better word is betrayal, lost of security? Why is it that you might feel happy? Maybe it is that you feel relieved? In fact, you were holding your breathe this whole time (not because you wanted to, but because that was your body’s automatic response).

Actually, how many times have you called him already? Do you remember the first time you called him on his phone, right after you got his number? (Not many people ask for phone numbers, anymore. But I think it is one of the most magical moments in your life when the person you like [technically, have the biggest crush on] ask you for your number. Your world stops and you cherish that moment forever.) Do you remember the last time you called him? Did he pick up? What did you guys talk about?

What was the most memorable phone call? Was it the first time he called you? Was it the time he called you back after you guys had an argument? Was it the time he called you to let you know he was safe wherever he was because you guys are long distance? Was it the time you called him because you were troubled and needed his support? Was it the time you called him to yell at him for something so stupid you do not even remember why you called him in the first place? What did that phone call meant to you?

Ringing that Never Picks Up is a reminder. Sometimes relationships end, but it is not accepted. We may continue to call his number hoping he will pick up, even though, from the beginning, we already knew that he will not. By continuing to call, we have this expectation, this hope. This hope keeps us going, thinking, “there will be a next time.” But actually, this is a coping mechanism to temporarily hide from reality (not to reject it). Some people say I’m weak for thinking this way. But one day, I will stop calling. Its just that, today, I still need to. Until the day comes when calling him no longer means anything to me, because I have accepted that this call is no longer meaningful to me. It is the time to let go, and I am very willing to.

Ringing that Never Picks Up is probably an issue many people can relate to because of someone that we tried to call who never responded. We are left with frustration and persistence to get an answer. This does not have to be just between lovers, it can be between friends, family members, and even professional associates. Everyone reacts differently, but we will all experience a feeling of anxiousness for our own different reasons. What is yours?