Sunday Scribblings, Message

The prompt over at Sunday Scribblings is "Message."

The Message
“You’ll be fine.”
She’d left the statement on his answering machine, time-stamped at 11:42 p.m.
It was an old machine, tape instead of digital and it was serviceable so he never sought to upgrade. She’d tease him about it, calling him old school while he reviewed calls by winding the tape back to write down a number or times for dinner reservations.
Truthfully, the whir of the tape was comforting. The squeal of voices in reverse. Click. Play.
This was way different.
“You’ll be fine.”
Her voice was detached somehow, hollow.
Whirl. Click. Play.
The tan plastic of the machine was covered in tears, thick ropes of snotty saliva. He ran the risk of short-circuiting the ancient box, but he couldn’t help himself. Once and again, he’d run a crusting sleeve across his lips and nose. But once she spoke, a fresh stream hammered the box.
“You’ll be fine.”
She was businesslike, blunt. Nothing like she was in real life, fun of spunk, delicious playfulness.
Whir. Click. Play.
Her message, time stamped at 11:42 p.m.
“You’ll be fine.”
A full two hours after her death.


Larry McCay said...

Wow - that really hits home! You know, the tape machine has a distinct advantage over the digital version - a power outage stole the last message my best friend ever left us.

Well penned - as usual. Thanks for sharing.

Vagabond Princess

Lilibeth said...

...and of course he wasn't...fine I mean. Powerful messages, especially those left just before (or after)death of a loved one.

Yvonne said...

This reminds me of my friend's uncle, whose voice appeared on a tape a few weeks after his death. The message was "Play it again, Pete." The tape was of a jam session and my friend Pete was playing guitar on it. Wow.

Thomma Lyn said...

Wow, Thom. Such a powerful piece. Packs a huge punch. It made me break out in shivers. Excellent job!

Cathy Olliffe said...

Loved the story... it reminded me of my dad. He and my mom had the same uncomfortable message on their machine for, I dunno, maybe 30 years... my dad's voice all nervous because he's so old school. When he died, one of the first things my mom did was replace the machine.
I didn't ask her why.
But it seemed sacrilegious.
I miss hearing his voice.

Americanising Desi said...

a very vivid story!



Zouxzoux said...

Surprise ending! I thought she was leaving him. You crafted this very well.

linda may said...

Mmmmmm, so sad.