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Thank you for calling the Longing and Official Veneration Enterprise

Or LOVE for short. We'll be with you shortly.

By Trinity HPublished 2 months ago 8 min read

“Thank you for calling Longing and Official Veneration Enterprise, please listen to the following options: For hours and operations, press 1. For business locations, press 2. If you or someone you know believes they are experiencing Longing or Veneration, press 3-“

The loud beep echoes through my headphones as I punch in the number. I can barely hear the automated voice through the background noise- people moving from seat to seat, doors opening and closing, the speaker overhead screaming its next stop. My hands are drumming on my thighs. All this stimulation with nowhere to go. I eye the incoming passengers, sending death glares to anyone who looks at the empty seat beside me.

“-you chose: 3. For access to support mailing lists, press 1. To lodge personal accounts for our subscription service, press 2. To dismantle feelings, press 3. To repeat these options, press 7.”

I can feel my eye twitch. Whoever came up with these weird drop-down menus of options for the phone deserves a fresh seat in hell. Why else would I call if not to talk to a real human person about how I’m feeling? Not even how I’m feeling, just have someone be able to spell out what I’m feeling. This is fucking stupid.

“-you pressed: 3. If it is someone you know experiencing Longing or Veneration, press 1. If it is you experiencing Longing or Veneration, press 2.

-you pressed: 2. If you have felt Longing or Veneration before, press 1. If you are experiencing Longing or Veneration for the first time, press 2. If you are unsure whether you have felt Longing or Veneration before, press 3. If none of these options apply, press 4. To repeat these options, press 7.”

It really shouldn’t be this hard, should it? Not to sound like my father but would it kill someone to just pick up the phone and talk to me? I only have so long of this bus ride to finish this. Now I’m staring down an old woman as she hobbles by my seat. God, you really do turn into your parents.

“-you pressed: 3. If you have spent longer than 3 hours thinking about someone-“ that could include multiple people, right? “in the last 5 days, press 1. If you think about someone only when prompted, press 2. If you don’t think about someone, press 3. To repeat th-

-you pressed: 1. If you have or wanted to spend excessive amount of money, time, and/or energy on someone in the last 5 days, press 1. If you have smiled at your phone because of someone in the last 5 days, press 2. If you have talked to your friends or family about someone in the last 5 days, press 3. If all options apply, press 4-“

This is some kind of torture, isn’t it? Having all my embarrassing quirks laid out in front of me. So what I smile when they text me? I smile when I get package delivery notifications too. This is so stupid. This robot doesn’t know anything about why I do things. I think my lip is bleeding from biting it.

“-you pressed: 4. If you have experienced sexual intimacy with someone in the last 5 days, press 1. If you have wanted to experience sexual intimacy with someone in the last 5 days, press 2. If you have not experienced sexual attraction in the last 5 days, press 3. If you have not experienced sexual attraction, press 4. To repeat these options, press 7.”

Fuck. I can feel my hands clam up. I really don’t want to get into this right now. If there was a living, breathing human on the other end of this phone call then maybe I could explain my long, arduous history with sex. There’s no way anything less than a registered psychologist could understand what I’m feeling. What I’ve always felt. This is the exact reason I called this stupid company in the first place. Maybe I feel sexual attraction? What does it even feel like? Sure, I can masturbate, but really that’s just to fall asleep, or sometimes a breeze hits my hair just right. Is wanting to kiss people sexual attraction? Do I even want to? Or am I just okay if it happens; more like a neutral party if initiated by someone else. Is it the same for sex? I like holding hands, or cuddling, or sleeping in the same bed as people. Maybe if they wanted to sleep with me, I’d want to sleep with them? Maybe I don’t?

“-you chose: Nothing. Press 7 to repeat options.”

Fuck, okay. Even if I press the last one, which I don’t know is true, will it automatically tell me what I’m feeling isn’t some kind of love? Do you have to be sexually attracted to people to like them? Is my love different? It feels different. I don’t love them like my parents- ew- or my friends really, but I do love them. But also like friends? Do I want to touch or cuddle or hold hands with my other friends? Have I ever felt anything? Am I bro-

“Excuse me?” I jump so hard my elbow hits the window. “Is someone sitting here?”

The man asking is tall, very tall. Not a hard feat considering I’m under 5’5 but still jarring to be faced with suddenly. He’s pointing at the seat next to me, startling me enough to nod my head without really giving it proper thought. He smiles at me before sitting. Begrudgingly, he has a very nice smile.

“-ose: Nothing. Press 7 to repeat options.”

Oh shit, yeah. I guess it’s a 4. I guess. I move as close to the wall as possible to make room and press my screen.

“-you chose: 4. If someone has wanted to change any aspect of their relationship to you in the last 5 days, press 1. If someone has shown deeper interest to you in the last 5 days, press 2. If someone has told you they feel romantically towards you in the last 5 days, press 3. If none apply, press 4. To repeat these options, press 7.”

Right. I knew we’d get here. I wipe my hands on my pants. It’s not like anything has changed, really. That was kind of the whole point. How long can I mull over how other people might feel about me before I start to go crazy. This is supposed to be about my feelings, how I’m supposed to be feeling. I can’t physically think about how other people care about me. I might care about them differently. More intensely. What if it wasn’t supposed to be anything big and I’m making it this big confusing production? It’s so stupid.

“-othing. Press 7 to repeat options.”

I shouldn’t have even called this line. I should have swallowed my confusion and inexperience and waited for them to text me or something. I’ll come when they call- that’s it I’ll just self isolate until they want me because otherwise it’s way too vulnerable and my fucking leg is bouncing, I hope it’s not annoying this guy-

Fuck! My finger moved. Shit. If my hands weren’t shaking so bad this wouldn’t even be a problem. Do I have to go through these fucking options again?

I bet the sigh I let out could be heard from the front of the bus. My seat mate looks at me and I bare my teeth.

Maybe this is a sign, maybe I’m not meant to know what I’m feeling. I mean, if I had it my way, I wouldn’t even have to call a company that exploits the emotionally vulnerable. I read that before, when divorce rates weren’t so high, people would just guess at what they were feeling and if it would work out. Honestly? I’d rather that. There’s something romantic and tragic about hoping for people. Against all logic and emotional awareness, choosing people.

Not for the first time, I’m thinking I might be overthinking this. Ironic.

Insane, the prospect of just feeling. How did my mother do it? How did my grandmother? Letting their feelings guide the way, what other people thought only a guideline for what they chose. It’s scary. I want someone to tell me what to do. I want someone to tell me what to feel. I also want my hands to stop shaking.

I can hear the dead line through my headphones, my finger hovering over the call back button.

My stop is coming up, and honestly this is starting to feel a bit like cheating. The sweat dripping down my back isn’t telling of the weather, but of how much I don’t want to do this anymore. Is it better to know? Is it better to have someone figure this out for me? Or should I go through the motions of it myself? I don’t think there’s a right answer here.

Maybe I can be brave like my mother. Or maybe I can take the guessing out of it. How much of my feelings will remain if I dissect it like a body in a morgue?

It’s raining outside. Next stop is mine. The person next to me shifts away.

My finger hovers over the call back button.


About the Creator

Trinity H

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Comments (1)

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  • Obsidian Words2 months ago

    From seeing the first draft I do like the changes you made. This is such a complex notion and you have captured that complexity very well.

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