Movie in Real Life

by Jeane Wallcots
(Jakarta, Indonesia)

Movies last for about one and a half hour or two hours, while mine lasted about one year.

It all began on March 16, 2013. I remembered the date correctly because it was the day when I had my thirteen birthday. Why was it settled on my birthday, I don't know. My whole family celebrated my birthday at a quite fancy restaurant. All of them attended. We were all happy, except for one.

I had two older brothers, one older sister and one younger sister. My older sister was in another country, so she couldn't celebrated with us. My second older brother, the closest sibling to me, had a party with his friend so he said he'd catch up. Almost until all the foods were running out, he still hadn't shown up. Worried, I went to the bathroom to call him, to yell at him to be exact.

After a few calls, my brother, Zeb, didn't pick up. Even after about half an hour and total twenty-something calls, he still hadn't pick up. Tired, I went back to the table, but in the halfway my phone beeped, signing a call. And it was from Zeb.

When the first time I heard his voice, I began to yell at him. Yelled about how many times I tried to call him but he didn't pick up, and about how late he was, assuming that my family had finished. And while the whole time I was doing that, he kept apologizing with non-stop. He kept saying "I'm sorry, I'm sorry..." And honestly, I was getting tired of that.

As I finished yelling, he told me to calm down and that he was exactly outside of the restaurant, telling me not to worry. Relief washed over me and I started to close the phone, but he held it. He said, don't turn off yet, until you really see me. Being a little kid I was, I started to freak out, but still, he said that there was nothing to worry.

He told me to go back to the table, so I did. There, I was left flabbergasted.

Zeb was laughing with my family, eating a ramen or udon, which was taking a long time to make. His hands were all in the bowl and the chop, not on the phone. And yet, the person in the phone was still talking to me, saying, "Where are you? I don't see you anywhere."

I thought it was a joke, that this person talking in the phone was his friend, and he was playing a prank with me, so I cursed at him in front my family, loud enough for anyone in the distance of ten feet to hear.

Maybe he was playing an act at me, or maybe it was real. He showed me his phone, which was off because the battery was dead. And he said he never received calls from me when the phone still on, which was about ten minutes earlier.

He said, he already there, sitting beside my chair not twenty minutes ago, when I was still in the bathroom. I was already forgot about the person in the phone, which was still speaking but I ignored it. My head became dizzy, since I was that scared of those cliché stories about ghosts and such.

Taking some bravery, I took the phone to my ears, only to hear Zeb's voice saying, "Happy birthday, Jeane, I'll always take care of you. Don't worry, I'll always be there." And the phone went off.

Since then, every mornings and nights, my phone always rang, and the caller ID was Zeb, but I didn't dare to pick them up. I ignored them. Even the real Zeb always grumbled at me as why was I never pick up his call. So I told him to just message me, knowing that that person - whoever it was - only called me, he never texted me.

Until I couldn't take it much longer, and my mom always asked me 'what's wrong?' Because I always being moody, I told her everything since the day of the beginning. It was already three months after the day of the beginning. She only said it was only some people playing pranks, and that I should changed my number. So I did.

The first time I changed my number, no one called me in the middle of the night, and I guessed my life went back to normal, but it all changed as soon at about two weeks after I changed my number, the caller ID went to Zeb, and I still remembered correctly I hadn't saved the number of Zeb in my contact list.

And I changed my number the second time. The third time, fourth time, fifth time, and still, not two weeks after I changed it, the called always being Zeb every day. And eventually, I threw my phone, and bought a new one. Turned out, it didn't stop bothered me.

I was getting desperate so I told my dad and mom. If they kept telling me that it was just pranks, I might have killed myself. But no, they didn't say it. They asked me about more details, such as had I been experienced anything strange. And yes, I had. So many strange moments came after my thirteenth birthday. Like, my drawer had somehow moved on itself, and my bathroom door opened by itself, and other things.

Then, mom and dad told me everything. It turned out that once I was a baby, Zeb had another brother, named Zeb. He was their favorite son, so when he died in his fifth age, the name went to the Zeb now. About the Zeb now, his name was actually not Zeb, but Sid. But his name changed after the little Zeb died, and the causes still unknown until now.

Since then, I never got scared whenever my phone buzzed in nights. I knew it was my sibling, but I didn't dare to pick up. Until my fourteenth birthday at March 16, 2014, which was a few months ago, I didn't receive calls at the morning, but I received a text. It was from Zeb, and it said, 'Happy birthday, Jeane, and I'm sorry I can't protect you, but I'll try my best. And I can't call you from now on, but I'll keep trying to find any source to contact you. I'd always been love you since you were born, you have to know that. Sincerely, your brother, Zeb."

I tried to call him, not wanting to lose contact even though I got scared of him, but when I called him right after I got that text, all I got was the operator voice saying that the number was not registered.

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