The boyfriend used to live in the States, so whenever I phoned him, I would get that familiar American single long ringtone, not the quicker double ringtone we have in the UK. He’s long since moved back to Blighty, but every time I hear that tone, in a tv show, I get the same apprehensive, heart-thudding feeling all over again. Evoking the anticipation of joy. I’m pensive. The next ten minutes has to last me all week.
Like an old dial-up tone. Have I got an email? Are they in the chatroom?
I cannot wait to hear his voice. 11am there, 4 pm here. I’ve busied myself all day to pass the time until I can ring him. If he’s not expecting my call, what if he’s out, hung over or just woken up?
This was in the embryonic Internet days, not the immediate, free luxury of communication we have now. It was still more than my parents had. Whenever Dad was working abroad, he would arrange to ring Mum at a local phone box or friend’s house on a certain day and time. Kids looked after by a friend, she would wait. If he didn’t call, the next letter would have the revised time and date of when they could possibly next speak.