Why I have a fake call app
I have a fake call app on my phone for emergencies.
The last time I didn’t have it installed on my phone, someone tried to force open the door to my car trying to let himself in. I knew him, so he probably thought that he had the privilege of just doing whatever he wanted. I wasn’t comfortable with him, and I called him out already because of unwanted advances. After a few months, he must have thought that everything was okay already.
He wouldn’t stop trying to open my car, and I had the decency to open the passenger window just a little bit so that he can talk to me.
He wouldn’t stop talking about how much he misses me. He asked if I felt the same way. All I wanted to do at that moment was to take a fake call and excuse myself from all his sweet nothings and need of affirmation that I missed him the same way he missed me.
I tried my best to answer as vaguely as possible. He wouldn’t quit on the subject until his daughters, who were my friends, interrupted him and I finally opened the lock of the car doors for them.
My legs were shaking as I stepped on the gas pedal, praying to God that my voice doesn’t betray the fear in the pit of my stomach and the anger at my stupidity for putting myself in a situation like that.
The moment I had a good internet connection, I downloaded a fake call app. I thought that the next time he attempted such a thing, I would have this app as an excuse not to converse with this monster.
Every time I am forced to relive this memory, my insides crumple and revolt. The air blows cold on my hands, and all I want to do is hurt myself to stop the voices in my head telling me that I should be okay by now and not be affected by him. After all, he said sorry already.
He said sorry but I still have to deal with the consequences of his actions. I’m the one who has to deal with the urge to hurt myself every time I remember this memory. I’m the one who cries myself to sleep at night because things will never be the same after what he did. I’m the one who needs to pretend that everything is okay and forgiven even though I can’t stand hearing his voice. I’m the one who can’t stop being crazy and needs to know where he is at any given moment for fear that I’d run into him in empty hallways.
The fake call app on my phone is a crazy reminder of how bad things were.
I was probably 15 when he started making advances. I was a child and I didn’t know what was happening, only that it made me feel uncomfortable, but I didn’t know that it was wrong.
As an adult, I called him out on his actions, but it also called out the years of repressed shameful memories of my childhood into the light. I had to come face to face with the memories and realized that it was wrong. The kid in me was finally able to catch up with the adult present. The things that were confusing then started to make sense and then everything started to fall apart fast.
The trauma came in waves, and the moment I felt that those waves have calmed down, they started to hit me again.
Trauma can come when the lights go out after a happy day.
It comes when you’re eating at a restaurant, content and at peace. You never know when it will hit you only that it comes unexpectedly with a mighty fury and wreaks havoc in your life.
Trauma is being constantly on guard, never being able to relax for fear that it will betray your weak points.
I remember “healing” being my word of the year for 2020. It worked out kind of okay for that year. However, 2021 hit me like a baseball bat that I didn’t see coming. The trauma came back, and I was back to square zero.
Healing is hard and painful. It’s an embedded part of your life that you would have to grow into.
Things are not fine on my end, I’m still dealing with it and trying hard to move on and heal at my own pace.
Trauma is not your fault. I know that now.
But healing is my responsibility. This is why I still keep my fake phone call app around.
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Afton Ortega, 27, is a graphic artist who loves to write. She lives in Metro Manila but dreams of relocating somewhere closer to nature.
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