Liane
Liane (Photo credit: adreson)

Ring . . . ring . . . ring.

“Hello?”

“Hello, my name is Emily, and I’m calling from Empire Credit Card. Is Ryan home today?”

“Yes. I’m Ryan.”

“Hello Ryan. How are you today?”

“I’m feeling a little melancholy for no particular reason. This is fairly common though. I’m also a tad bit peckish, and I’m frustratingly horny, so much so that I can barely stop myself from getting an erection, even if I think of my grandmother nude, who is not a bad-looking woman, but she is much older and related to me. How are you today Emily?”

“Um . . .”

I hear her shuffling through notes. I’ve put her off script, and she’s only just begun.

She begins again: “um . . . I’m good. I’m with Quality Control Customer Service, and I’m calling to see how your recent phone call went with our Customer Service representative Jessica.”

“Swimmingly.”

“Swimmingly? Sir?”

I hear her shuffling again.

“Ryan,” I say.

“Sorry Mr. Ryan.”

“Ryan is my first name.”

“Sorry sir.”

“Emily, please call me Ryan.”

“Oh, of course. Are you able to take a short survey?”

“What’s your definition of short?”

“I have 20 questions.”

I laugh, heartily.

“That’s funny,” I remark.

“What’s funny?”

“20 questions – like the game.”

“Sir?”

“Ryan, not sir. Say Emily, how old are you?”

“I’m 22. Why?”

“I kinda wanted to extend that whole grandma theme. The little guy is really starting to wake up. I’m afraid 22 just won’t do it. You even sound young on the phone. Can we pretend that you’re older?”

“I don’t think I’m supposed to do that. I’m just supposed to ask you 20 questions.”

“Right, but while you ask me, can you try to sound a bit older?”

“How old?”

“80!”

She starts giggling like a school girl.

“Ah, you want me to do an old woman voice?”

“Precisely.”

“Like this?”

“Wow. You sound like Carol Burnett. That’s kind of a huge turn on.”

“Whose Carol Burnett?”

“Never mind that, just keep talking in the old woman voice.”

“OK, sir.”

“Perfect, but don’t call me sir.”

“OK, Ryan – the survey is kept anonymous, but we do ask for your first name.”

There’s a long pause.

“Ryan, are you still there?”

“Yes, and I love the voice.”

“Oh, OK, I thought you had gone somewhere. So first question is what’s your first name?”

“Ryan.”

“R-Y-A-N. OK, Ryan from a 1 to 5, 1 being not satisfied and 5 being completely satisfied, how would you rate the service that Jessica gave you?”

“Well, she didn’t talk to me like an old woman.”

“You shouldn’t rate her based on that.”

“I was just joking. I didn’t ask her to talk to me like that.”

“You didn’t?”

“No, I didn’t even talk to her.”

“It says here that you spoke on October 31 at 8pm for 30 minutes.”

“I didn’t. I didn’t call in at all, and I haven’t for months.”

“Oh, there must be some mistake. I’m sorry Mr . . . I mean Ryan.”

“Don’t be sorry you’ve been delightful. Say, would you like to meet?”

“I’m in Montreal.”

“Great, so you’re only 2 hours away. I’ll see you in 2 hours.”

“I don’t think I’m allowed to.”

“Emily, if you don’t want to, that’s cool, but who cares if you’re allowed to.”

“It’s not that I don’t want to. It’s just that I have a boyfriend.”

“You have a boyfriend, and I have a grandmother; it’ll never work out.”

“You don’t really like older women do you?”

“I like women as young as you, but not quite as old as my grandmother.”

“I guess I should let you go. It’s been fun,” Emily says in her normal voice.

“Em, don’t think about yesterday, and don’t think about tomorrow. Think about what you want to do right now, today.”

“My friends don’t call me Em. I like you calling me Em though – it sounds nice.”

“Em, I’ll meet you at the Biodome in 2 hours.”

“Why shouldn’t I think about yesterday or tomorrow? Why today? Today is just a yesterday waiting to happen – that’s what my dad always says.”

“Today isn’t a yesterday. Today is today. Yesterday doesn’t actually exist. Have you ever visited yesterday? It’s just a memory of today. Tomorrow doesn’t exist either. Everyone tries to visit tomorrow, but by the time you get there, it’s today. Tomorrow is a hope and a dream but not a day,” I say.

“So, you’re saying that I have a memory. I have today, and I have a hope and a dream.”

“Yes. Will you be with me today? It exists. It’s here.”

“I think, um . . . yes, Ryan. I’ll see you in 2 hours.”

“I will be holding a single red rose, and I’ll meet you at the main entrance. Until then.”

“Goodbye.”

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