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Svetoslav Peytchev


No, I am not Ivan. My name is Simon. I live - as every average citizen does - in a small concrete high-rise apartment with my wife and kid, a dog and a cat.

My life was going by, as monotonous and dull as the high-rises in the neighborhood, until the day when the nearby convenience store got this new sales person. The minute I saw her I fell for her. It turned out she was married though. However, after a couple of weeks of hesitation, we put an end to our scruples and gave in to sin. From the very beginning we agreed that our relationship was going to be entirely physical, and we would never ever talk about each of us getting divorced. We exchanged our phone numbers and promised ourselves to be cautious. As a matter of fact, I gave her my number at work, as my wife is awfully jealous and I didn’t want her to suspect anything.

We would plan our dates in the store or over the phone, seeing each other several times a week should we have the chance.

One day I gave her a call as usual but quite unexpectedly, it was her husband who answered the phone.


He was supposed to be at work at that time, and hearing his voice was quite a shock to me.

“Hi Ivan ... Is that you?” I acted this out trying to sound natural.

“You’ve got the wrong number,” he said and hung up.

Later I told her what had happened. She laughed and said I should be more careful. So this is how the question “Hi Ivan, is that you?” became something of a password for us. Should her husband have picked up the phone, I would say “Hi Ivan...”, and he would start explaining that I got the wrong number and there was no Ivan. She would then know that it was me calling, and would call me back as soon as she could. He guessed nothing, and I laughed secretly at his naivety.

On a Saturday I was supposed to go fishing with friends, but the weather became bad, forcing us to give up our plan. As I was wondering how to fill up my time, the telephone rang. My wife ran in from the other room but I had already reached for the receiver, which made her freeze at the door.

“Hello? ... Hello?” somebody was holding his breath at the other end. After a moment of hesitation, a deep-toned voice said in the receiver:

“Hi Ivan, is that you?”



© Svetoslav Peytchev
© E-magazine LiterNet, 24.07.2004, № 7 (56)