All my life, I’ve only ever bought one phone: a pinkish-lavender Samsung S5230 Star, procured after my mom’s hand-me-down pink-and-cream Nokia 7360 was lost in some Tropical Hut off the SLEX highway. I was stupid enough to leave it on top of a table I shared with my cousins and only realized it when the table was already cleared by one of the chain’s staff. Of course none of them claimed to have seen any phone on any table, even though my cousins and I were practically the only customers at the time. Needless to say, that first awesome out of town trip to Batangas with my cousins will forever be marred in my head by that unfortunate incident.


Hand-me-downs or not, my past phones all served their purpose: I was able to keep in touch with my friends and family. In high school, I was never one of the students who just had to have the newest and coolest phones. As long as I could make calls and send text messages, I was fine. Even when I got to college, I didn’t mind that I didn’t have a camera in my phone; it was only after I was already working that my mom gave me the 7360 and was able to take grainy pictures with my cell.

And then came the Samsung Star, with all its advanced touch-screen technology and Internet application buttons. With a quick flick of my thumb, I could change my Facebook status, update my Twitter account, and even check my Tumblr dashboard; I had been poisoned.

Admittedly, it wasn’t just the Star that poisoned me; wireless Internet had had a hand in it as well. After I broke up with my boyfriend, I would often leave my phone in my room or in my bag, forgetting about it until I needed to contact someone not within earshot. This was before the reign of the smartphones in my life. When the Star entered my life, my phone was always in my hand, or at least within an easy arm’s length away. It made for awful actual social skills but made my online one remarkable.

I eventually grew to love that phone. So much so that when my sister gave me her iPhone 3G because our uncle gave her his 3GS, I didn’t give the Star away to anyone. Maybe if it weren’t pinkish-lavender, I would’ve given it to my nephew/godson Miguel, who lost his old phone when it unnoticeably fell from his pocket. Still, I could’ve sold it and gotten a few extra bucks but told myself that I was holding on to it because the iPhone might start acting up like my sister’s old first generation one. But if the Star merely poisoned me, the iPhone completely did me in.

It wasn’t just the instant-ness of checking my emails on multiple accounts or the gorgeous interface—it was the games I downloaded which allowed me to pretend I could cook or wasn’t afraid of cats; it was the ease of taking a picture of Christmas lanterns on the street and then posting it on my Twitter account; but most importantly, it was the fact that I could communicate with my best friend who lives in San Francisco instantly. With PingChat!, I was able to send text-like messages and files to her in real time with no cost. It cost less to talk to my friend in the US than to text someone in say, Greenhills or Makati.

Of course, if you read this essay’s title, you’d know by now that I lost my iPhone as well. Like Miguel, I didn’t notice it fall from my pocket while I was riding a cab with my friends on the way to my house. Like the 7360, I lost it after a particularly fun event (I had just spent 3 hours in a videoke place in Makati with my high school friends and 2 of my college ones and we had transferred to my house to continue the festivities). But unlike the Tropical Hut incident, I wasn’t just lamenting the loss of the contacts and messages and birthday alerts on my phone, or the change to a new number that I had to rememorize. This time around, I was actually grieving over the actual phone; and the fact that I had only had it for less than 2 weeks; and the stupidity of the whole thing. My stupidity. Before the hour was over, I had listed all the ‘if onlys’ in my head. If only I had put it in my bag instead of my pocket. If only I had checked my pockets before I stepped out of the cab. If only I had checked the seats before I closed the door.  I had so much regret and was in too much grief, I literally couldn’t move from my seat in our living room. My cousin had to entertain our friends while I whined and moaned and occasionally banged my fists on the armrests.

Eventually, I had to take my heart medication (I suffer from Mitral Valve Prolapse) because my chest felt so heavy. Aside from my loss, I wasn’t really looking forward to telling my family about what happened.

That night (or morning, actually), after my cousin and I said our goodnights, I woke up repeatedly thinking about my phone. I would tell myself not to dwell on it or I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep, until I finally gave in and just stared out into space. You would think this was all a bit melodramatic, and I would agree with you. My reaction was a bit over the top. After all, I still had the Star in my drawer and only needed to buy a new SIM card. And with Facebook, it’s so easy to collect people’s contact information now. But I couldn’t help but compare this exaggerated mourning to someone suffering from a breakup.

I remember the sleepless nights, the weird churning in my stomach, and yes, the chest pains when I broke up with my boyfriend. The breakup even had a silver lining too, in the fact that I still remained good friends with my ex. But still, there was the grief, the regret, the what-ifs—the unbearable feeling that I wouldn’t have needed to be so bereft had I done some things differently. Even that dreadful anxiety over the thought of telling my family about it had an eerie sense of déjà vu in it. But obviously I got over the breakup, so I tell myself I’ll get over the loss of my two-week-old relationship with my phone. Eventually, yes, but perhaps not that soon. After all, didn’t I just tweet “Losing your phone is like breaking up with someone. You think you’re over them, but you wake up from naps randomly thinking about the games you used to play.”?

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