This story was written when I was helping an aunt grade her students’ creating writing essays. I needed alleviation from reading uninspired and hackneyed stories that walloped my muse, so I came up with a version of my own.
Two days ago my friends and I were at Centre Point shopping mall and as we were walking around we heard over the intercom that Golden Screen Cinema was doing a promotion that day. They were giving free tickets on selected movies! We decided to go for it and rushed to the top floor like kids. I was so excited as we slid behind an already long queue of grinning opportunists. What a way to spend the day. While waiting, my senses felt an anomaly on the body. Instinctively, I slapped at my pockets, felt the bulge of my wallet, and dug my hands in and, horror of horrors, found no trace of my phone! I reeled in panic. I was a 21 year old parents’ dependant with a thirty thousand ringgit worth of school loan to my name, and I just lost one of the most valuable thing I own – my CELL PHONE. I whirled around to scan the legs-teeming floor as though my phone would be there for me to pick it up. Of course it wouldn’t.
“What’s going on?” I heard Ranjit said.
“My phone is gone! My beloved Nokia 3310!” I said. “I’m going to find it. You guys go on without me,” and left them without looking back, mood for the movies gone.
I backtracked across the floor where I had been, raking through my memory of the last time I still had the phone with me. My thoughts were racing and I couldn’t focus.
“I hadn’t seen you with it today,” said Lucy and I jumped. Ranjit and Lucy had followed me off. I was so relieved to see them, because I was on the verge of crying. It would do good to have friends pick you up when you broke down embarrassingly in public.
“I hadn’t taken it out of my pocket, but I know I slid it in before I left the house.”
“Let’s just find it. It has got to be somewhere,” assured Ranjit. I went through the day’s journey in my mind, retracing my steps while Ranjit and Lucy faithfully followed behind. The shopping mall had three floors and we were at the top floor where the cinema was.
I halted and stared at a fruit juice kiosk on the same floor, as shoppers blissfully went by. I remember paying at the counter, and feeling the mass of the phone against my jeans then. Or was it my wallet? I couldn’t be sure. I approached the counter slipping past a long line of customers and to the harried girl manning the register, I asked, “Have you seen a phone left behind here recently? A nokia 3310?”
“Hey you’re cutting line!” said the hatchet face female patron beside me, twisting a hideous pout. I ignored her.
“No phone was found,” said the kiosk attendant dully, fingers ready to receive and punch orders from pouty mouth.
“Are you sure?”
“She said no phone,” pouty mouth said.
Prickles of choler growing, I pressed my lips, refusing to acknowledge pouty mouth’s existence. I said to the cashier, “Would you ask… never mind,” I turned to the workers bustling at the back kiosk. “Has anyone seen a Nokia 3310 phone recently?”
“A Nokia 3310?” A male worker pouring drink from a machine said. “A Nokia 3310…” He annunciated the numbers to think.
“Yes. I’d seen it.”
My heart lifted.
“In 2001!” laughter erupted around me.
“I said recently!”
The male exchanged looks with his friends at the back, shrugged, and said “nah,” shaking his head with a smirk on his face.
I didn’t care what they thought about my phone then. It was an antique, classic – one which was still in usable. Virtually everyone with a phone had coloured screen models. Mine was special, different, big. I had a treasure. The mother of all phone trends. And I had just lost it.
Despondent, I left the counter and headed down a nearby escalator to the second floor. A clothing department there was the only store I recall having spent some time in since entering the mall. Perhaps I might have dropped it while looking around. The regiment of clothes laden racks seemed insurmountable.
“We’ll tell the people at the information counter to make an announcement, you wait for us here. ” I vaguely heard Lucy said, as I zoned out in despair.
My legs brought me into the clothing store. The prospect of finding my phone was almost nil. How could it slip out of my tight jeans pocket in there? I hadn’t taken out anything from my pocket then. The likelihood that it was stolen grew ever more large. I couldn’t believe that somebody would even take that piece of yesteryear technology. I sighed. They probably saw its worth as I did, a nostalgic valuable.
Oh my phone, my deterrent to phone related procrastination – those flashy games, and pesky picture taking habits so prevalent among peers. Using that phone is a bragging right, a survivor story like granddaddies walking barefoot to school five hundred miles away. Every day. It meant I can live without certain things my peers cannot do without. I was a survivor with that phone. It was handy, durable, with long lasting batteries and most importantly, it was a simply communication tool for phone calls and text messaging.
It seemed impossible to find my phone in such a large mall. And who is to say someone hadn’t pick it up already?
I shambled lifelessly out of the store and slumped down at a resting bench just outside the entrance, my reflection on polished trash bore witness to my defeat. I had no choice then. Living in a connected society, I probably had to spend a fortune on a distractive phone with a two-day battery life, fragile screen and scratch magnet housing. Who sells those two coloured phone these days anyway?
Just then a shadow fell on me, and I expected my friends to say that an announcement would come.
“Helloo.” An unfamiliar voice said, but it rang a bell.
I looked up. It was pouty lips, only she wasn’t pouting anymore. She was smiling.
“Here,” she said, holding out – my eyes widened – a familiar grey coloured Nokia 3310! My PHONE!
I took it with trembling hands, and looked reverently at the lady.
“Thank you,” I stammered.
“You need to take care of your phone. I found it beside the straw dispenser at the counter just now. Lucky – old phone, nobody wanted. Probably thought it was a toy.” The woman’s lips were quivering, suppressing, what seemed to be an urge to laugh.
I was bubbling with emotion.
The woman strode away, gesturing a goodbye wave. “Who still uses that kind of phone?” she mumbled to herself. I clasped my phone with jubilation. Providence was truly kind.
I saw my friends returning. At that moment the intercom sounded.
“A grey Nokia 3310 is missing and whoever found it would you please kindly pass it to the information desk. If you try to sell it, good luck.”
*As most stories, this one requires more editing. Maybe I’ll get to it later.