By Omari Jackson
She knew I was serious when I said, “You taking this thing for a joke, huh?”
She held her breath for a few seconds and said, “I’m not, why?”
“Why did you ask me?”
She said, “I didn’t hear you.”
I waited for her answer to sink into my brain, held the phone to my left ear, and listened to her soft breathing. It had been several days now since we came to know each other, and we were having fun.
I said, “You know I cannot say I miss you, right?”
“Why can’t you?”
“Because,” I said, “I don’t know you.”
I heard a sound of dissatisfaction in her voice. I was not trying to hurt Jeanice, for it was a fact that I did not know her, neither did she.
I heard her voice on the telephone line, and it was apparent that she wanted to say something. I held my breath, ready for her but she did not.
“You know I’m telling the truth, right?”
Her voice came in low and soft. It was like a hissing sound under a heavy rainfall.
She said, “I think you’re right.”
She said, “We never talked about our dislikes and likes.”
I said, “I already know what you like.”
“Yes,” I said, “and I can name them.”
An echo came on the line and I thought the line was dead.
I said, “Are you there?”
Jeanice’s soft voice came on the line, to reassure me that she was still around.
I said, “Being human you deserve to be loved, and I don’t need you to tell me.”
“Ok,” she said, “what else?”
“Before I continue,” I said, “let me say that I can only imagine you.”
She said, “What do you mean?”
“Remember I said I cannot say I miss you,” I repeated, “because I don’t know you.”
“You’re right,” she said.”
I said, “I can miss hearing your voice.”
“Yes,” she said, “and I can miss hearing yours, too.”
“I’ve seen your picture,” I said, “and therefore I can only imagine you.”
“Oh,” she said, “but I didn’t hear what you said from the beginning.”
I said, “Hello sweetheart was what I said.”
“Ok lover-boy,” she said, “and that was why I asked about what you said.”
I was smiling from my end. Like all things in life, distant relationships were some of the enduring ones. Internet had made it easy for easy communication. The element of having romantic relations with someone on the opposite end of the world was becoming fashionable, and it was my first time into it.
I said, “As I was saying about you…”
“Yes,” Jeanice said.
“I know you’ve value, meaning you mean a lot to me.”
“Yes,” she said.
“A man needs to cheer you up.”
“Ok,” she said.
I said, “You need to be surprised.”
She might have felt the truth of what I said, because I had surprised her with a wonderful gift, when she had not asked me for it. The discussion was heating up, but then she made a request.
She said, “I’ve a signal that my battery is dying.”
I knew then that it was time to end the discussion. She had told me about the frequent rains in her town, Monrovia, and it was clearly the reason sometimes the phone-networks would interrupt in our frequent discussions. As we said goodbye to each other, I could only imagine her.