Photo by Julie Swanson / North by Northwestern

We had a good run, I think, after checking my phone for the tenth time this minute and seeing the empty screen glare at me in smug disappointment. The inanimate object has come alive to shame me – get a life, it says, stop obsessing about someone who clearly doesn’t care about you.

My phone talks to me more than you do now; it talks so much that I put it on Do Not Disturb, place it on my nightstand face down, and try to breathe without the nagging sensation of eternal stimulation.

When I think about you, I can shrink you down to the size of a Lilliputian. I can shrink you and put you under my foot and crush any effect you ever had on me. There goes your power, there go any fond memories, there goes your hold on me.

Then the sun comes up, and I instinctively check my phone, rolling over in the bed where I had tossed and turned all night without you there to stop me. The empty screen greets me with laughter. Did you expect something to change overnight? it asks through the breathy wheeze of malicious laughter.

I wish more than anything that I could leave it behind in the darkness of the room. If a phone dings in the darkness, does it make a sound?

I’ll never know the answer because my phone is holstered, tucked in my back pocket waiting to go off. And when it does, I’ll think of you in that split second before I read the notification.