Michaela Merz

Mobile phones

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Maria hated Kurt’s iPhone. She felt that Kurt was spending more time with his phone than with her. This feeling started to sneak in a couple of years ago. First, it was the Blackberry, afterwards the newest iPhone. Kurt was always available. On the weekend, the holidays, in the middle of the night. His clients were mainly in China and so it was not unusual for him to receive calls at 4 a.m. ‘those are just the annoying time zones’ he used to say.

The side effect of his reachability was a big house at the edge of the forest, a garden, a swimming pool. Maria could shop to her hearts content. Shoes, jewelry, Gucci bags. Maria however would have preferred to have no swimming pool, a smaller house and no jewelry and instead a bit more of Kurt. She had raised their three children pretty much on her own and when the youngest moved out at the age of eighteen, she felt very lonely and useless.

‘I can’t continue like this’, she thought. She knew something had to change. She asked Kurt to take a walk with her in the forest. An unusual request, which she hadn’t uttered for many years but Kurt recognized that it seemed important to her and that it probably concerned something else. He grabbed his phone and said ‘ok fine Maria but max for an hour, afterwards I have a video conference with Peking’.

Maria nodded but insisted that they left their phones at home. After all, it wouldn’t take more than fifty minutes. Kurt was not impressed with the idea but agreed. He took his phone out of his pocket and placed it on the cupboard next to the front door.

They went into the forest and Kurt listened attentively to what Maria had to say.

After around fifteen minutes he started to feel a little uncomfortable. His skin turned pale he felt pressure in his chest and the pain spread in his arm. He barely managed to say ‘Maria am not feeling well’ and dropped to the ground.

Maria was a trained dental hygienist but also knew how to do a heart massage. Since Kurt wasn’t breathing she removed the clothes from his chest and it didn’t even take 30 seconds for her to start CPR. The idea of 30/2 was spinning inside her head ‘30 pushes to the heart and two breaths. Again and again until he wakes up.’ But Kurt didn’t wake up. Maria felt she needed to get help but apart from shouting she couldn’t do anything. Both of their phones were at home. She figured that if she ran home by the time she got back to him he’d have severe brain damage or be dead.

His brain wouldn’t be able to handle more than three minutes without oxygen. But maybe someone would pass by, after all they were so close to the village she thought. She shouted for help and applied pressure to his heart. The adrenalin that was rushing through her veins helped.

No one appeared and she started to notice her exhaustion. She continued and continued until she couldn’t anymore. She dropped to the ground next to Kurt and cried. In the mean-time it was getting dark. Maria knew he was dead.

After a while, she started caressing and kissing him. She got up, completely drained and slowly made her way back home. The first thing that she heard, as she reached her home, was the ringing of Kurt’s phone.

The question that keeps running through her head since that day is ‘why did I insist on him not taking his phone with him?’

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