His daughter had played a game on his phone this morning, draining a little more than a quarter of his battery. He still had some time before work, so he plugged it into his charger and went about his normal morning routine. After showering, putting his clothes on, and going downstairs to make his lunch, he kissed his daughter goodbye. It wasn’t until he was halfway to work that he realized he had left his phone at home on the charger.
If he turned around to get it, he would be late. He couldn’t be late. He would have to go the day without his phone.
It felt strange to him to walk around with an empty pocket. He never noticed how much he had grown used to having it with him at all times. The absence of it almost made him feel naked. Still, he had work to do, so he tried to push it out of his mind and get to it.
Suddenly, his ringtone blared loudly in his mind for a few seconds.
It was almost enough to make him jump. As it was, it increased his heart rate and momentarily sped up his breathing. Out of instinct, he reached to his pocket before remembering he didn’t have his phone with him when he came up empty. A glance at the clock showed that it was only twenty minutes until he went to lunch.
The day’s half over, he reminded himself. Only four more hours after I get back from lunch. His lunch dragged on, him not having his phone to update or browse through his social media sites. He was forced to pay attention to some soap opera that was playing on the television. It was mounted on the breakroom wall too high for him to reach the buttons and he couldn’t find the remote. One of his coworkers must’ve hidden it again. Bastards.
After the hellish lunch he just experienced, he was happy to go back to work for once. He had just reached a productive groove when he was interrupted again by the sound of his ringtone. This time he did jump because of how loud it sounded in his head, although he was able to keep himself from reaching for his pocket that time. The clock said that he had only been back from lunch for an hour. Only three more hours to go, he thought.
The next hour breezed through and because he didn’t have his phone, he decided to skip his final break. He found his groove again, doing well above his normal production. Before he knew it, a bell on the wall rang out, signaling that there was ten minutes left in his shift. With his quota hit, he stopped what he was doing and planned on not doing anything until it was time to clock out. Then, he heard his ringtone again.
Like the first two times, it gave him a start, but it didn’t ring out in his head as loudly that time. Annoyed, he vowed to never be stupid enough to forget his phone again.
When he got home, he found his daughter playing with his phone once again. He took it from her and told her to go play with her own toys. She huffed, but did as she was told. As she was walking away, she told him that he was getting texts all day. Only one text showed up, from his wife asking what he wanted to do for dinner. He was going to ask his daughter about it when he saw that he had voicemails. Those had the same alert tone that his texts did. That must have been what she heard.
The first message was from his brother. He listened as his sibling frantically told him that their grandfather had been rushed to the hospital. As the message was playing, he looked through his phone log and saw that the only missed calls he had were from his brother. The other messages had to be from him as well.
Another frantic rambling greeted him on the next one. His brother was practically begging him to call back, saying that it didn’t look good and that the doctors were saying that his grandfather didn’t have much longer. The third message consisted of his brother bawling, telling him that their grandfather had passed away.
Tears began rolling down his cheeks as he put his phone down on the table in front of him. Through the tears, he saw that his phone log was still open. The first call came in twenty minutes before he went to lunch. The second call came an hour after he got back from lunch. The final call came ten minutes before he clocked out.
Crying even harder now, he went through his phone’s settings until it let him play his ringtone. As the music came from the speaker, he buried his face in his hands. His wife came into the room, asking what was wrong. He didn’t hear her, though. He was listening to his ringtone.
The song his grandfather asked him to use.