I bent over a table and stood writing my phone number down on a piece of paper that was either too thin or too small or contained too much print so that my number remained incomplete or illegible. I did not consider sending a message from my smart phone; I was not contemporary in my dream.
The young woman for whom I was writing down my number stayed kind. She didn’t question my inability to accomplish a task so simple or judge me for my incompetence.
The number was correct. I had no problem remembering the digits. My problem was the paper and how I kept misjudging its suitability to hold the key to my existence.
Did I not want to be reached? Had my suggestion to stay in touch been a lie, born from social niceties ingrained so deeply I no longer recognized them as external rules? Who was I? Why was paper, symbol of my writing, my life, failing me?
I neither blamed the paper, nor the pen. I blamed my impatience. No one had decreed one should be able to write down one’s number for a stranger in one go. Fortunately, I did not give up. Just before I woke, I handed the smiling young woman a scrap of newspaper on which I stood out in thick bleeding numbers.