I like to sleep with the things that matter most to me close. Sometimes that something is my boyfriend, though our bi-coastal relationship predicates a life where sometimes can’t be always. On …
I like to sleep with the things that matter most to me close. Sometimes that something is my boyfriend, though our bi-coastal relationship predicates a life where sometimes can’t be always. On nights when he’s not with me, I find myself sleeping with the next best thing—I find myself sleeping with my iPhone. Call it what you will, but I really love this thing, I hold it as close to me as I would he. I fall asleep with it on my chest, let it rise and fall with my every breath, nudge me awake when it wants to.
I awoke last week in Los Angeles somewhere between drunk and hung-over, fully-clothed in my boyfriend’s childhood bedroom. David sleeping soundly next to me, the weight of his arm across my chest, it took longer than usual for the whereabouts of my phone to cross my mind. A fleeting memory from an indiscriminant time of my iPhone sitting pretty on the bedroom floor was enough to keep my mind at ease while I worked on coming into consciousness. I had a lot on my plate that morning: I had a flight to New York in the early afternoon, I had to wrap my head around that, I had to wrap my head around leaving David, I had to pack up all of my things, I had to download my boarding pass, I had to be cordial with David’s family, I had to drink water, I had to eat food, and I had to refrain from vomiting while doing all of it. These were not normal circumstances, so it’s no surprise that it took a full twenty minutes for me to realize that my phone was missing.
Maybe I was drunk or maybe I’m a superhero, but I didn’t freak out, I wasn’t worried, I knew it had to be somewhere. I had faith, not necessarily that I wouldn’t lose it but that it wouldn’t lose me. As we retraced our steps, scanning all the surfaces we’d passed by and stopped off at before making our way upstairs, it began to dawn on me that this phone really was in hiding, it was playing hard to get. And hard to get it was—impossible, actually.
I broke the news to my family that my phone was MIA in L.A. on the car ride to the airport: This was David’s number, I said, they could stay in touch with him. I signed them up for flight alerts, they shouldn’t worry. My flight was delayed one hour. I would meet them in the parking lot right outside of Arrivals. I would borrow someone else’s phone if I had to. I would be okay.
And I was okay, ultimately. I have a new iPhone now and things are going great so far (it’s just as good in bed). But as the glass doors at the entrance to LAX closed behind me that day, I felt, for the first time in a long time, really and truly alone. With nothing in my hand, no lock-button to press, no home-screen to take my mind elsewhere, I couldn’t help but be confronted with the reality of our goodbye and all of the weight that came along with it. Everything came crashing down at all at once. I was unprepared for the severity of the situation, but when I looked back anxiously to see him one more time, to share in one last smile or blow him one last kiss, what did I see but David, sitting in his car, looking down at his iPhone.
I kept walking of course, tears welling up in my eyes as I took strides further and further into the unknown, the disconnect, the seeming abyss. At first I was upset with him—how did he not know that I’d be looking, that he should look for me too. But then I remembered that my first instinct upon leaving him was to reach for my phone. It was my feeling for this phantom phone that had led me to all of this emotional turmoil in the first place. So who could blame him, I knew I would’ve done the same had I had the luxury of an iPhone at my disposal.
As much as I hate to admit it, I kind of enjoyed my trip home that night. I hardly did anything, I barely spoke to anyone, but I felt like I was coming into myself, learning to be human again—to look around, to reflect, and to feel without question. There was a strange comfort in the discomfort that I couldn’t help but appreciate. There was something almost sexy about it, avant-garde, if you will. But sexy isn’t always sustainable, so for now I’ll settle for the comfort that I’m used to. I’ll keep the things that matter most to me close. That demands connection. That demands an iPhone.