*This is a work of nonfiction based on actual events I experienced firsthand; used with permission.
An interesting thing happened to me the other day. My phone rang, and I made the mistake of answering it despite not recognizing the phone number that was calling. I couldn't help myself; I thought the call might be from someone important. It wasn't.
I was expecting several phone calls, primarily from doctors' offices. Since I didn't have their phone numbers committed to memory, I thought it was best to answer any call that came through, familiar or otherwise. I didn't want to miss a doctor's phone call and end up playing phone tag. That never goes well.
When the phone rang and I glanced at the caller ID, I saw that the caller was local based on the area code. That was good enough for me. Assuming it was one of the phone calls I'd been waiting for, I answered. What followed was 82 minutes of my life I'll never get back.
As soon as I answered the phone, I knew I had made a grave error.
"Tracey?" the voice on the other end of the line said. "Please don't hang up on me."
It was my ex-boyfriend, the one I'd dumped eight years earlier for disrespecting my mother. That's my one absolute dealbreaker. You might be able to get away with disrespecting me, but my mother? Never.
I decided not to hang up on him. Why not? Well, I've had a handful of phone conversations with him over the last eight years, and they've been incredibly cathartic. I usually just say all the things I should have said while we were together but didn't. They aren't very nice things, but I'm happy I can finally say them to him without fear of repercussions.
In other words, I really let him have it.
Over the course of an 82-minute phone call, my ex-boyfriend asked me to take him back over a dozen times. Every time he asked, I gave him the same response. "I don't want you back; I don't even like you as a person."
It was the truth.
He asked me to leave my current boyfriend, a man I love, for him, a man I hated for the entirety of the last two years we were together.
I said, "No," every time. I don't want him back; I can't even believe I ever dated him at all. That's one mistake I'm not willing to make again.
My ex is a stranger now; his voice is barely familiar. The only thing I remember about our relationship is how little I enjoyed it, especially toward the end.
Eight years. That's how long it's been since the day we broke up. I suppose I should be flattered that he still wants me back after nearly a decade, but truth be told, I feel nothing at all.
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