I didn't recognize the number that was flashing on my cell phone when the call came, but I decided to answer it anyway.
"Rand? Oh my god, is it really you?"
"It's me, Rosalie! I've been trying to find you for so long!"
"Where have you been?!"
"Umm... around, I guess."
"You do remember me, don't you?"
"Not really, sorry."
"But we lived together for a whole year!"
"What the hell are you talking about?"
"How could you have forgotten the year you spent with me, here in Italy?!"
"Erm... I've never been off the North American continent."
"Oh, really. What did you do for the year after graduating from college then?"
"Hmm... Well, I went back to L.A. for a bit, then camped in Montana for six weeks, then did taxidermy in Reno for six weeks, then was in Portland Oregon for four months, then I was back in L.A. again..."
"Camping, taxidermy, OREGON?! Doesn't that sound a little weird?"
"Uhh... yeah... that actually does sound weird!"
"I don't know what's wrong with your memory, but you were here with me, and we were in love."
"You know what? I can't even think of a single thing that I accomplished in that year! Skinning coyotes and deer heads?... what the hell is that about?!"
"That never happened, my Love, you were here with me."
"What the fuck! Are you hot?"
"You always said so, yes."
"And you put out?"
"Honey, we were together for a year..."
"Why the fuck don't I remember this?!"
"You said that Italy felt like home to you, and that no other place ever did..."
"Yeah, that sounds like something I'd say!"
"And that you wanted to stay with me forever, because you were tired of looking for the perfect woman, and I was 'close enough'..."
"That makes sense too!"
"And you said that you loved how quiet it is here, because you could just sit and think all day..."
"All of this sounds wonderful... why can't I remember this?!"
"And I was newly pregnant with our daughter when you just disappeared..."
"So I saved up for two and a half years to hire someone to find you... I thought you were kidnapped!"
"Our life together was so wonderful. I'm so glad that I've finally found you again!"
"Hey, umm... you don't have DNA proof that I'm the kid's dad or anything, do you?"
"Rosawhatever... are you still there?"
"Well, uhh... no.. DNA matching costs a lot of money, and I've had to put everything I've earned into feeding our daughter and finding you... You're the only man I've ever been wi..."
I hung up the phone and began an emergency session of auto-hypnosis. I cleared my mind and began chanting...
"I was never on the phone today; I was too busy hunting buffalo in Northern Utah..."