When I was employed by others, I used to call my husband sometimes just to hear a friendly voice. He’d ask, “What do you need?” and I’d reply, “I just called to hear a friendly voice.” At that time I worked with a cruel, unhappy, alcoholic woman, who was subject to erratic moods, changing from the beginning of a sentence to the end, in a way that was most disconcerting.
In the early days, before we got married, my husband requested that I always take his calls at work. He was a commercial fisherman, prior to cell phone prevalence, so calls were costly and infrequent. He heard on the news, while he was offshore, that the bank where I worked had been robbed. He called the bank ship-to-shore and commanded me to quit immediately (Yankee-Whiskey-Zulu-something-something-something, out). I didn’t quit then, but after it became apparent that we wouldn’t have the same time off, I did.
We moved away from the town where we met. He told me I’d love the new town and I did. He was still fishing. The people I worked with bought into the romance (and free tuna and lobster) and rushed to get me to the phone when he called.
Now we’re here in the hinterland. We work together, live together, rarely spend time apart. He drives me crazy with countless phone calls every day. Sometimes we don’t want to continue the discussion or the disagreement. We answer the phone anyway.
We’ve reached the point that some couples do, we don’t really care to be too far from one another. Regardless of avocation, there is an awareness of the other just below the surface. A few weeks ago, we attended a social gathering. It was an obligation we couldn’t refuse. I took a walk with some younger women to explore neighborhood shops. My husband called me. I offered regrets and I left. I sensed an emancipated impatience from one of the young ladies. I could tell she resolved never to be like me.
If she’s lucky, she’ll recognize a friendly voice when she hears one.