I Want You to Want Me

Contributor: Taylor Dibbert

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String hoppers, chili paste, dahl, gravy, chicken, a fried egg, greens, an array of curries, a bit of arrack and copy of Boomerang by Michael Lewis. If Lewis is not doing the trick I will switch to fiction; I have been meaning to get to Sons and Lovers for months. Maybe tonight will be the night. Why would my phone be ringing? Nobody ever calls me after 9PM. (Nobody ever calls me before 9PM either).

“Hello. Is this Siva?”

“No, this is not Siva.”

“Okay, thanks.”

My phone is ringing again.

“Hello, Siva…”

“Sorry, I am still not Siva. You have the wrong number. This is Mr. Mark.”

“Are you Sri Lankan?”

“Do I sound like I’m Sri Lankan?”


“You would be correct.”

“Well, are you alone then?”

“Yes. I’m alone.”

“What do you do for fun? Aren’t you lonely?”

“I read. I write. I walk. But, most of all, I wonder what I am doing here. I wonder why I don’t just move to a beach town in Mexico and look for my wife because she certainly is not here.”

“I like the sound of your voice.”

“You’ve got to be kidding me.”

“No. It’s nice, different and soothing. Are you really alone?”

“Always,” I tell her.

“I was being serious.”

“So was I.”

Even though it’s only a phone call, now I am wishing that I’d had a bit more to drink.


I’m at Lemon, a rooftop bar in Cinnamon Gardens. I haven’t been here since the time Sonali was in Colombo. It’s a good spot, but I’ve come entirely too early. I’m already working on my third drink by the time she shows up.

“Hi there. Mark…right?”

“Tania. You are on time. Are you sure you are Sri Lankan?”

“Pretty sure.”

I was planning on grabbing something to eat; I quickly forgot about dinner and a lot of other things.


I wake up with a splitting headache and in need of more sleep. Evidently that is not an option.

“You need to get out of there. He will be coming back soon.”

“Alright, I heard you the tenth time.”

“Also, don’t call my phone today. You can text me if you want.”

I can’t find my other sandal. Vodka is still on my breath. There are all kinds of stains on my pants. I have no idea what that stuff could be; they don’t appear to be bodily fluids. (I hope.)


I’m now onto Duplication Road. No taxis are available. I’d rather walk back to Bambalipitiya. I need some lunch, an IV and a nap. I’ve got to go back to Delhi tomorrow morning. I will be riding the L train into Manhattan before I know it.
I burned a lot of money last night and I don’t care. Again I woke up to a wad of crumpled bills and a general sense of uneasiness, yet for once I wasn’t alone.

After all, even the loners long for the touch of a woman.

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Taylor Dibbert has been published in Slow Trains Literary Journal, Foreign Policy Journal, Foreign Policy in Focus and elsewhere. He is a columnist for International Policy Digest and the author of the book Fiesta of Sunset: The Peace Corps, Guatemala and a Search for Truth.
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