Texting into silence

It takes me a while to compose the text, but in the end I think I get it right: ‘Lost for words for once – desperately wanted to say something to make you smile. No good at jokes, bit better at hugs, guaranteed to clumsily shatter a silence. But I want you to know that if you need a friend to lean on, I’m here. It just seemed like intruding to say it.’


The evening started off well enough, too. An informal Twenty20 on the practice ground; our youth academy against a group of veterans. Good quality veterans mind you – some have played Test cricket, and another we are about to sign for the club. His presence, and a grim desperation for decent match programme content, are the reasons I am here.


I stroll across to the little wooden pavilion. The veterans are batting, so there is a knot of players gathered on the grass in front. I approach them, looking for their captain. They seem a friendly bunch and point me in his direction. I introduce myself, arrange my interview for after the game, then head off in search of the academy director.


But first, I come across Hector, holding court in the café next to the changing rooms. He beams at me broadly and shakes my hand.

“How are you?” I ask him

“Great – I’m watching Twenty20!” Unlike many county chairmen, he loves the shorter form of the game. And also unlike them, he bothers to turn out to watch the youngsters. I have to say, we are a pretty select band; Hector, myself, the coaching staff, a handful of first team players, the odd proud parent and a couple of girls walking their dog.


I take my leave of Hector and settle down at the far end of the balcony. I promised Owen I’d call and let him know when I was here – there are still a few interviews we need to fix up. He answers quickly.

“Well, hello.” There’s a slow sexiness in his voice that rather takes me aback.


I sense him watching me for a few moments before I look up.

“You’ve got yourself a good position here” he says, and flops down onto the chair next to me. We chat for a few moments, but something is not right. I know, from his boss, he’d had to take the previous day off for family reasons.

He lapses into silence.

“So, how are you?” I ask.

He looks away – quite definitely away. “I’m shattered actually. I was off yesterday – family stuff.” He doesn’t elucidate, but after a short pause goes on to tell me (in some detail) about how good his weekend had been before that.


Animation – conversation – silence – looking away. Increasingly, silence and looking away. There is a sense of absolute desolation about him. I’m glad we have a game of cricket to watch.

In the end I say, “You’re not with it, are you?”

He turns, towards me this time. “Sorry, I’m not very good company.”

“That’s OK. You don’t have to be.”

He reaches in his pocket for his phone and flicks it open. “Sorry, I’ve got to take this – it’s my brother.”


I expect him to walk away, but he doesn’t, so I gaze out over the practice ground and try hard not to listen. OK, I pretend not to listen. “No… actually no… I’m not in the office… we’ve got an Academy match on… watching it with Willow… oh, no, I haven’t… I’ll do it when I go back to pick up my suitcase… left the office in a bit of a hurry actually…”


He finishes the call. “I’d better go. I want to see my sister before she goes back.” But still he seems reluctant to leave, and we sit in silence some more before he stands up. And I just know my hug isn’t enough.


I also know, in the cold light of day, that he will have found my text faintly embarrassing, but I have not one single regret in sending it. I don’t expect a reply, but every word in it was true. And I felt so empty seeing him like that, empty and completely helpless. I have so little to offer him, you see. And we both know it.

  1. texting is the bane of all relationships these days…it is so hard to just send off a message into the great voiding hoping sometimes waiting…to see if it will touch a string or two..message in a bottle i think

  2. What he wants you cannot offer, what you offer he does not want..sigh

    and it goes on…and on

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