“Audrey, do you mind if I ask you a personal question?” Tina asked her friend just as the waiter brought their desserts. “You don’t have to answer if it makes you too uncomfortable. I’ll totally understand.”
“That’s okay. Go ahead. Ask me anything you want,” Audrey said with the appropriate amount of trepidation that follows such a question.
“They expect it to be soon, don’t they?” Tina then asked.
“Who? Who expects what to be soon?” Audrey asked in return.
“The doctors. I remember how awful I felt after the doctors told me that my parents didn’t have much time left. Which one is it, your mom or your dad?”
“I’m afraid I don’t follow,” Audrey told Tina. “My parents are fine.”
“Oh. Are you expecting one of your girls to go into labour shortly then? Why didn’t you tell me you were going to be a grandma?!”
“What are you talking about? You know my girls are only eleven and thirteen. They’re way too young to have babies.”
“Oh my God! One of them have gone missing, haven’t they?! Why didn’t you say something earlier? We could have cancelled lunch. We should go and start a search party, hang flyers, or something. You know you’re going to be the number one suspect, right? Seeing as how you went to lunch with a girlfriend instead of looking for your kidnapped, and therefore, most likely now murdered daughter.”
Audrey, thoroughly confused at that point, asked her friend what the deal was with the bizarre questions.
“You keep checking your phone every five minutes,” Tina began to explain. “I figured that you must be waiting for some earth shattering news. Why else would you act like I’m not even here?”
“Sorry. That’s just what people do now in this era of the cellphone, I guess. Check their phones all the time for messages or missed texts.”
“Don’t apologize. It’s not your fault. It’s Alexander Graham Bell’s fault. If he hadn’t invented the original phone, then it wouldn’t have lead to the cell phone, and people wouldn’t be all A.D.D. distracted these days.”
“Again, I’m sorry. Here, I’ll turn off my phone. We can talk about anything you want and I’ll pay complete attention.”
“I think I’ve said all I really need to say.”
Tina and Audrey never spoke to each other again…not on the phone, via text, through instant messaging, or through any other form of communication.