"At times I think my coffee and tea addictions truly drive my artistic energy. It’s a small sacrifice for the greater good."

Prompt: Answering Machine

Posted: 1/8/10 | Written by Jeannie | Labels: ,

My hand sits motionless over the small blinking box; trembling as the message continues. The voice, crackling sounding otherworldly as it comes through the archaic speaker. This answering machine has seen better days. A crinkled forehead with squinted eyes, I concentrate on the words spoken. The only clue that something is wrong is my hovering hand that dare not move. I can feel my cat rub against my leg but my mind is racing hardly noticing the soft purrs issued forth. ‘It’s not possible.’ I think, ‘there is no way that message could be left on an answering machine.’ Rewinding and pressing the play button I listen to it once more.

“Some days, some days you are the most brilliant woman in the world. There are days I just want to wrap my arms around you and make sure that the whole world fades away. Then there are days like yesterday.” He pauses, and releases a deep sigh. “Days like yesterday, where you make me feel this small. Not that you can see my hand gestures but it’s small, very small. It’s as if you enjoy making me feel like I crap. You frustrate me so freak’n much that I lose my words around you.” Another long pause as I hear traffic behind him. Of course he would find the only working telephone booth in London. “I just, I just, god damn it---I just love you.” My jaw drops and I realize those were the words I heard. My hand trembles, if those words were what I heard the first time then what’s next must be true as well. “Wow, I love you,” his words softened, the background noises becoming more apparent; the sound of traffic rushing past. Horrible sounds of screeching tires – no doubt from the fog. I stand and listen. I know what is about to happen and there’s nothing I can do but to listen. Wheels skipping as he speaks in the phone, “I love you, I want to.” The shattering of glass: deafening.

I jump as I hear the engine rev. Tears stream down my cheeks as screams from passersby’s reverberate into my ears, down so deep – touching my brain and shaking loose emotions I never knew were there. Dropping to my knees my hands covering my face as I hear more voices, louder voices, voices trying to help, yelling voices saying, “get him out of the car! Bloody hell, get back.” A woman’s voice pierced through the crowd.

“Oh my god, there was someone in the booth.” I could picture her pointing at the booth as she screamed the words. Tears seeped through my fingers and land on my shirt soaking it through. The car engine finally cut---the silence so loud that the crackles of my answering machine hurt my ears. I strained to hear the words I knew were coming.

“Maria,” his voice breathy, raspy, and so faint, “Maria, I want to marry you.” My breaths shallow, heart racing as the crackles turn to static. Static lasting for a mere second before the disconnected signal rings and the machine stops.

© 2010 Jeannie Hart

2 replies:

  1. Jennifer said...
  2. ..................

    *has no words*

    *reads again*

  3. Jeannie said...
  4. Jen, you are too sweet. :)

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