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CRINGE 


oh lord, I can still remember it like it were yesterday. twelve years old, hiding in the attic with the cordless telephone gathering the nerve to call the boy i liked.  i was so sure that it was the right thing to do. i dialled his number and his sister picked up. “is chris* there?” he wasn’t. “please can he call me back?” sure.

he didn’t.

i waited. and i waited. and i waited.

for one whole week i waited. everytime the phone rang my heart would skip twenty beats. nothing. it was never for me.

so I tried again.

his sister answered. again. he wasn’t there. christ, I thought to myself. it’s eight o’clock at night, where could a thirteen-year-old boy be at this time!? don’t his parents love him?
i held out a bit longer this time. and after what felt like an eternity, I tried again.
ring, ring.

it was his sister, again. “is this your private line?” i wanted to ask her.

this time, he was there. i knew, because i overheard him cursing when he learnt that it was me.

oh the humiliation! i wanted to hang up there and then and throw myself out of the nearest window. but i clung on. gripping the receiver with my clammy hand. desperately holding back the ever growing lump in my throat.

the call lasted all of two minutes. i don’t think daniel clowes could have written a more painfully awkward scene. he wasn’t rude, just indifferent. so much worse. once i had hung up i instantly dialled my best friend. she did her best – “perhaps he had had a bad day?” if only, i thought to myself.

 

 
*this name has been changed, for obvious reasons.

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