My mother told me I had a tell. Something she used to ascertain whether I liked person who was on the other end of the phone call. Mind you, I was a teenager when she told me this.
“You cover your face with a pillow,” she told me.
“Mom,” I said, rolling my eyes, “I cover my face with a pillow all the time.”
At least I thought I did.
Then I noticed, I didn’t always cover my face. Speaking on the phone with my friends differed vastly from speaking to whoever I happened to be crushing on at the moment (I went through a lot of crushes, mind you. I was a bit of a crush-slut). With someone like Binx of Doll, I spoke out in the open. In the living room while doing my homework. Or in my bedroom with the door open. Or sprawled in the hallway (our phone line was really long). But with someone I liked, I took it as private as I could. Covering my face to mask all the smiles and starry-eyed looks were, possibly, my last ditch attempt to hide what made me human.
I can’t pinpoint when this stopped, but it was during my relationship with Jeanna. Two reasons I know this: 1. Jeanna is the last relationship I had and, 2. The way I communicate changed significantly. While Jeanna and I still continued talking on the phone, the amount of time lessened. It only made sense. We went from being two teenagers in love to being two twenty-something-year-olds in love to being college graduates in love. No one told us that our last young love relationships would also be our first trial at an adult relationship.
The women that followed didn’t linger for too long. But while they were around, we communicated mostly through text. We had a phone call at night, but nothing too long. Half the time, I couldn’t think of a single thing to talk about anyway. So I’d just ramble on until it was time to say good night or something. (If there’s something I excel at, it’s talking about absolutely nothing for hours.) With the exception of Katie, because we always found something to talk about (mostly complaining with a few jokes sewn in for good measure).
“The only thing I truly miss from the 90s is the lack of cellphones,” I admitted via text one day.
“Why?” she responded.
“Because, I dunno, I guess it’s because there’s no romance in the way we communicate today. I miss phone calls.”
I guess it’s all analog. Kids these days won’t know the hardships of waiting by the radio to hear the song you want to hear. Or: Kids these days won’t know the hardships of having to fast forward through previews before watching a movie. But, for me, it’s more like Kids these days won’t have the pleasure of hiding their face underneath a pillow while talking to their crush, studying their every word and cadence. They won’t know the twirling of phone cords. Or they won’t know the uncertainty of leaving the house and worrying their missing a “very important phone call.” I dunno. I guess I’m just a hopeless romantic in that sense.