Saturday, August 2, 2014

Four is Folly

1:17 AM

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The first was a white beauty of a mobile phone. Hardly used, its black buttons still had the manufactured shine Nokia was known for those days.

 I had stuffed it into my pocket hastily, as I crossed the busy street with a handful of my friends. We’d just eaten and were in high spirits. The wind blew my hair into my face, and I remember laughing, totally oblivious to what would transpire next.

 Back then, in those parts, the sidewalk had yet to exist, and instead our feet met soft blades of green grass. The walk from the mall to the church we all frequented on Friday evenings was a short one. The restless blood in our veins prompted us to run the rest of the way. Our cheeks flushed and our breathing quickened. 

In hindsight, I don’t know why we ran. It was one of those moments when we truly felt free of the educational constraints, the expectations (at the time, we were all applying to different universities), the pressure. Whatever reason, folly overtook sense, and the wind blew my cares away.

When the euphoria had subsided, and we were tucked away in the lower ground floor of the church, I slipped my hands in my pockets, but its contents were not there.

Panic was the prominent reaction. Despite knowing that sense was necessary, my fifteen-year-old self panicked. The mobile was not in my pocket! It had just disappeared! (Of course, this wasn’t true, but it sure felt like the inanimate object sprouted feet and just up and left.)

Sense then prevailed. Had I left it anywhere? I retraced my steps, but to no avail. My kind friend tried to call it, and once a someone had answered, she began speaking threatening (and very funny) words into the receiver.

“Who is this?” she spoke into the phone. “You thief! Give us back the phone! I’ll have you know I have armies to track you down.” 

We sniggered. In hindsight, this was not so believable. Why would any army chase down a thief just for a ruddy mobile? In what strange mind would that have made sense? We were yet children, prideful and haughty. It was one of those laughable memories of youth. Memories that bury themselves within us only to emerge when life is bleak and hope lost.

I went home that day to angry parents, and they had every right to be angry, thank you very much. Mom asked me how it had happened, but I could not answer. I did not know for certain. To this day, the story beyond what I have told lies heavily on conjecture and imagination, for none of us had seen the thief (for there certainly was a thief) take it, and none of us had seen the mobile since.

And so it was that the first was lost, never to be found but ever to be remembered. The second, three full years later, was a pink clamshell beauty, one I truly called mine. My ownership of it was fleeting, a mere flash in the sky.

I had the sense of a fool to stuff the thing in the front pocket of my shoulder bag as I made a meal purchase a few steps from the university gates. The stall was crowded with bodies, for anarchy existed instead of actual waiting lines. The bodies of university students mixed with those of beggars pleading for alms. To obtain food, one must extend a long arm and yell out an order. And I did so, amidst the scent of rancid oil and frying food, I managed my purchase and balanced the lot of it on my arm.

I fished for my phone the moment after I’d entered the university campus, only to gaze wide eyed into the phoneless abyss of my bag. Perhaps it was the unhealthy food that dulled my wits, or perhaps it was the thought of my upcoming exam. Whatever it was, I lost my mobile once again that day, and I felt as Gollum had when the ring of power was taken from him.

Lost! My precious was lost!

I had only just taken my eyes off it. Where had it gone? What was I to do now? And why the bloody hell did this keep happening to me?

The wrath of my parents was greater this time around, for I was older and supposedly wiser. But my wrath against myself dwarfed theirs as an army of men dwarfs a single elephant. It was lost. And only I was to blame.

I never did recover from the experience, and when the third, a flashy smart phone, was in my hands, I swore never to lose it again. Not anymore, not when it was brand new. Folly, however, is not so easily shaken off. Three months was all it took before I absentmindedly misplaced the high tech wonder. Enthralled by my botany lab class, I’d lost it.

My parents were more than angry, they were disappointed and annoyed. Perhaps they thought me a stupid girl for having lost yet another phone. And again, I wondered, why in the world did I lose my phone again? I was not as downhearted as I’d been when the second had come and gone, but I did feel a great deal more foolish. I had lost it once more, and it seemed like there was no cure for this that ailed me.

The fourth happened a year later, after I’d endured far too many jabs about losing my phone. This time, I and my friends had just paid our taxi fare, and I had only just felt the black phone in my bag’s pocket. Then it was gone.

I loaned my friend’s phone and rang my Mom, who wearily scolded me for being careless. Less anger now from my folks. This happened too often to elicit such a reaction.

And still the question remains: for the life of me, why do I keep losing my bloody mobile!?

Article by Dani
Art by Mich

Dani Pua is a storyteller and a Daughter of Eve. She is a curious creature, studying biochemistry until further notice, and considers herself a ‘citizen of the world.’ (Whatever that’s supposed to mean.) Oh, and she’s also very much fond of lemon squares. She shares some of her stories on
Mich Cervantes is a 19-year-old Animation student (who doesn't actually want to animate anything). She draws a lot of comics. Her two favorite things are sleep and pizza.


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