I didn’t mean for you to die such a haphazard, chlorine-concentrated death. It’s my fault, I know. But it was a phone call I had been waiting for all day—and when you announced its coming I just had to jump right off the pool to answer it. I’m sorry I didn’t even towel my dripping hair before sticking you to my ear.
I didn’t know then that that single poolside call would be your undoing. After all, how many times had I used you to answer calls while I’m in the bath? How many times had I used you to send texts while dodging rainstorms during schooldays? You were in my pocket when I braved the thigh-deep flood in Philcoa during Ondoy. Of all the grisly manners of demise I had imagined would befall you, I never thought it would be water seepage.
I wouldn’t say it was utter carelessness when I didn’t dry my hands before pressing your keypad. I had come to trust you so much that I knew you’d survive another “wet” call. This level of trust, of dependency, might have led me to overlook the fact that you were old, and probably not as watertight as you once were.
Remember when I stashed you in the shoebox between my headboard and the wall? That was when my touchscreen LG phone came along, and I thought I was finally putting you away for good. It was so easy to be infatuated with its sleek, wide-screened swank and for a while, I forgot about you.
Then barely eight months since I had bought it, the pretty LG was gone. But you were there, waiting quietly among the old trinkets in the shoebox. I begrudged the loss of the LG, and I even called switching back to you a “downgrade.” How ungrateful I was. In the middle of weekly org meetings and pre-enrollment activities, I wouldn’t have managed without you.
It was with a sad acceptance that I watched your LCD backlight dim and flicker. I had read some of the most life-changing SMS in the last five years from your screen—my UPCAT result, messages from a friend overseas, confessions of infatuation, scolding from irate professors, approvals (or rejection) of marketing proposals, profound and unexpected birthday greetings. You were more than an appendage. You were my window to the world.
Now I’m really putting you away for good. I no longer have the shoebox, but rest assured it will be some place better, where neither dust nor mold can hide you permanently. Some place where your chipped matting will always shine bright red.
For all the snoozed alarms, the unchecked memos, and the senseless outbox scribbles, thank you.