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My mobile is ringing.
It’s an unknown number.
I’ll let it go to voicemail.
My phone vibrates as it gets the message saying I got a new voicemail. I shift my weight on the bench and put it back in my pocket, some of the peeling paint managed to flake onto my dress. A hot day, though they’re to be expected in Australia. Sitting on the bench with the peeling green paint in the local park; a good place to read, but a better place to forget about responsibilities. Of course, now that I thought about the things I’m avoiding by being here, all it’s done is make me feel worse by reminding me how much I have to do. I run my fingers along the peeling bench. If not weather-proofing, then at least the bench has character.
I’ve always liked character, even in things that don’t technically have a character. What kind of person would the bench be? Would the green paint form a tattered uniform so far scrapped that it’s removed any importance that it might have held? What would its uniform be? I’d like to imagine him as a short Admiral, with a big moustache, but that humorous image just contrasts with his current state of poverty to make his appearance all the worse.
I press the paint back onto the Admiral, and look up to face the world.
Sun glares into my eyes standing over the shade that the high trees could have given; though if there were no sun, it’d be more concerning than my vision getting just a tiny bit worse. I open up my calico bag to see what other books I brought, though nothing really grabs my interest. I suppose I should go back home, I stand up off of the Admiral, giving him a break in respect for his hard life and start to walk through the park. The grass with mixed patches of green and brown depending on what part of the soccer field it occupies, the leaf-covered shades of the deeper parts of the park. I put my hands in my pockets as I set on the browned padding of the leafy ground.
Oh, my phone.
I pull it out and check my voicemail, the robotic voice that tries too hard to sound human comes on and tells me I have “ONE-NEW-VOICE-MAIL” and then garbles out the time and date I got it faster than I could ever remember exactly what she said; interrupting the garbling of the robo-voice came “Hey, I’m Erik, you don’t know me but I’m a friend of a friend. Anyway, how able are you to believe in things that are unbelievable?” which was continued by the robo-voice telling me to press a number to do whatever it was I cared to. I follow my usual routine of hanging up at this stage and not bothering deciding what to do with it.
How willing am I to believe something unbelievable? Well how unbelievable?
Is there a difference in how unbelievable certain things are over others? I’d suppose if someone I trusted said something unbelievable, then I’d be more likely. Or if it was something that I’d suspected, but not been so far as believe, like animals being able to understand English. Maybe if it was something I’d really want to believe, I could believe it. But what do I want to believe in?
I wake up from thinking and find I’ve gone the wrong path, and am further down in the damp air of the leafy-floored forest than I should really have gone. I guess thinking is a bad thing, a lot of the time. Maybe it’s just a problem for me, because no-one else seems to get lost like I do.
Rocks on the path jut out from the leaves and give me a game of jumping between them, the trees enclose around me, keeping the bright light and hot day from fazing me. There are not many birds, but the plants provide life enough to keep the place happy; a happy forest.
Wait, I was supposed to do something.
The forest lost its appeal as it reminded me of the art assignment I was supposed to do. I pull out my phone and take some photos of trees, believing that it could help me with my art assignment. I get the missed call alert that I had ignored before. Who was he again? Oh, right, Erik.
I take a photo of a treetop that had silhouetted nicely in the sunlight.
How did he get my number? He said he was a friend-of-a-friend, so I guess that narrows it down to him getting it through Danica or Sarah. The contacts list of my phone only really needs to be able to count to six.
There’s a damp leaf stuck on a rock, partly beaten away by weather. The texture is quite lovely, and a very nice reddish-brown. It’s definitely worth a picture.
I suppose I shouldn’t continue to think about the ‘believing the unbelievable’ again or I’ll never get home.
I give up taking photos, and try to give up thinking and focus purely on my walk.
Each step I take seems incredibly small, but I feel like I’m moving so fast. Almost like the world is passing by me like I’m on a – what are those things called? They’re at the airport and they’re kind of like an escalator only they don’t escalate you. They’re a pretty stupid invention really, I never got the point of hurrying to do things. I think if at any stage in life you are in a hurry, then you have messed up your life somewhere.
I manage to take the correct path this time; the leafy rocks are soon replaced by boring concrete slabs.
Particularly people who speed, I don’t understand them. The time you save is so unnoticeable, that you could really have taken it out of any other part of your day. If you’re so obsessed with getting to somewhere faster than a car can already take you, then you’re just taking cars for granted. There’s a lot of amazing stuff in the world, some of it natural, some of it was made by people, and it’s like nobody cares about it.
If you’re speeding to get to work on time, then maybe you should go to a job that allows you to relax. But if you say you can’t do that because it’ll pay less, and then why not just live a life that costs less?
I don’t understand why money is so important. People can live happily today with very little money, it’s not like you can’t get the bare essentials with little money in a developed nation. We don’t have to fight terrible diseases, or starvation or dying by cold or predators. We don’t have to fight these things because we’ve already won against nature, and now we’re fighting against each other for money.
I don’t understand why people like to compete as much as they do.
I guess I don’t understand a lot of things.
I wake up from my thoughts again, and find myself inside the bathroom of my house, facing myself in the mirror. I guess there’s no such thing as absent-mindedness, because my mind managed to get me to the bathroom, though I’m not sure why; I wonder what I was going to do if I hadn’t woken up at that stage. I don’t feel like going to the toilet, and I’ve already had a bath today.
My mobile is ringing.
It’s that unknown number.
Should I let it go to voicemail?
I wait it out, I kind cover it with my hands so it stops guilting me with its ringing, chirping as if to say “are you going to let this one go again? If you don’t make the effort to talk to people, no-one’ll make the effort to talk to you”.
My mobile phone seems to have the same sort of annoying ringtone as my mother’s regular annoying tone. It vibrates, telling me that I have voicemail.
I look at mirror-me, and she looks pretty today, although a bit sad.
I guess I can listen to the voicemail.
I call up the robovoice, she greets me with her usual emphasises on random words and garble of numbers and dates. “Hey, it’s Erik. It was a yes or no question, ignoring isn’t really an answer, so give me a call and we can go get coffee sometime.”
I don’t like coffee, not even the proverbial coffee that the variable sometime has to offer. So as not to be rude, or be subjected to further calls, I save Erik in the contacts as The Person Who Has My Number Somehow and SMS a “yes, and I don’t like coffee.” to him.
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