I was talking to Ana in a crowded coffee place when someone who seemed way too big for the little tables joined us.
‘Hi!’ Ana said. ‘This is Dieter.’
I smiled to him, he said hi, and he threw his phone between Ana and me.
Ana picked it up and scrolled through his messages, obviously not for the first time.
‘He is dating this girl,’ she said to me. ‘You can’t send that! I’ll delete it’.

Ana handed me his phone, and now I looked at the exchange of texts. The girl had cancelled a visit because of work, and it seemed to be an excuse. Then again, I was looking at these texts of strangers like a detective.

‘Do you know her?’ I asked Ana.
She shook her head. ‘They have been dating for a couple of weeks, they met in Italy.’
‘I took days off for her,’ he said.
‘Don’t say that,’ Ana said.
‘You should say something about her first, about her work, and that it is too bad that she had to cancel,’ I added.
‘Yes,’ Ana agreed, ‘First say something about her.’
‘Okay,’ he said, and started typing. ‘What about this? I’ll get us something to drink.’

Ana and I both looked at his phone.
‘He is not very private,’ I whispered.
She grinned. ‘Yes, he is good like that.’
We discussed the possible interpretations the text could have and agreed on some final textual changes. Dieter came back with our coffees (with more ease than I expected),  he changed the text to what we wanted, sent it, and put his phone away.

Since then, I occasionally get a text from him with cute pictures of cats or babies. Not anything anybody would ever send me and I imagine him with another Ana, who’s approving the cute pictures he’s then mass-texting to all the female names in his address book.

(And I sent an aww and a smiley back. :–)


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