This is one of my favorite things that I have written for writing group. The prompt was "the very last time I..." and I went in a different direction. Imagine that...
You’ve had the following saved message for 100 days, the maximum time allowed, the robot voice said to me. I pressed 11 to play back whatever I forgot to erase way back when.
Hey Sue, it’s Jeff
My heart actually stopped. Has it really been one hundred says since this whole fiasco went down? I pressed 11 again.
Hey Sue, it’s Jeff. I have to stay late tonight and finish up payroll but can I take you to lunch tomorrow? It’s supposed to be nice out…
This was the last message that Jeff had ever left me. He left it probably about 3 days before he ended things with me. Without thinking I hit 11 again
Hey Sue, it’s Jeff. I have to stay late tonight and finish up payroll but can I take you to lunch tomorrow? It’s supposed to be nice out… we can walk through Laurelhurst Park afterwards
I met Jeff the old fashioned way: through a Craigslist personal ad. I was home bored perusing the M4F section of the personals and I stumbled across his ad. 36, small business owner, funny, good grammar, it all checked out. I emailed him that night and continued emailing him for six straight weeks getting to know each other. Finally we agreed to meet. It was a Monday evening and he emailed that he was taking me out for a beer at the bar around the corner from my apartment, no ifs ands or buts. We hadn’t exchanged pictures and I had no idea what to expect. He told me that he would be wearing a brown shirt and had a beard. I remember emailing Liz that I was finally going to meet this dude and that he had a beard so he already had one point in the pros column. I got to the bar early and sat in the corner with a book and eyed everyone who walked in and perked up when a handsome bearded man walked right up to my table and sat down like we had known each other for years. I think it’s safe to say that we hit it off from the start. That first date lasted 5 hours and we never ran out of things to talk about. We hit three different bars and drank bad beer and made each other laugh so hard that Miller High Life came out of my nose. He owned the hipster coffee shop downtown, he ran a croquet league, and we argued who was a better rock band, Rush or Kiss. Had I finally met my match?
At the end of the night, we stood outside of Holmans awkwardly moving in for a hug, bumping each others’ heads as we both leaned in. He ended up holding the top of my head and kissing me gently on the lips before saying that he definitely wanted to see me again. I ran the 6 blocks home feeling like Rudolph in that scene when Clarice tells him that he’s cute for the first time. I woke up to an email telling me how great it was to meet me, how he wanted to see me again and how sorry he was for his awkward, less than suave head grabbing move at the end of the night.
I hit 11 again:
Hey Sue, it’s Jeff. I have to stay late tonight and finish up payroll but can I take you to lunch tomorrow? It’s supposed to be nice out; we can walk through Laurelhurst Park afterwards…I heard Rush today on the drive home and I’m gonna fight you on this one, they really are the best band in rock and roll history. Wikipedia agrees with me and you know it.
Jeff and I ended up dating for only three weeks which my practical mind knows isn’t very long but my emotional heart thinks is an eternity. Never before had I met someone that I clicked so instantly with. Everything was so easy. I could tell him anything and not be scared that I was going to come across as nerdy or stupid. He laughed at all of my jokes, he listened to me freak out about my dad, and he understood that I wasn’t into PDA but that he could ravage me when we were alone in his apartment. Days were spent eating hot dogs, watching documentaries on Evel Keneval, and betting on horses. Everything was perfect.
I pressed 11 again:
Hey Sue, it’s Jeff. I have to stay late tonight and finish up payroll but can I take you to lunch tomorrow? It’s supposed to be nice out; we can walk through Laurelhurst Park afterwards…I heard Rush today on the drive home and I’m gonna fight you on this one, they really are the best band in rock and roll history. Wikipedia agrees with me and you know it. Anyway…see you tomorrow, baby. I’ll call you when I wake up. Goodnight.
Two days after he left this voicemail, I woke up to an email telling me that this relationship was moving too fast and he wasn’t ready for it. He didn’t mean to meet me and that his heart was still with his ex-girlfriend. He told me that he was sorry for being an asshole and that he understood if I hated him but that he just couldn’t do it anymore. I called him every day for a week and never heard back from him.
Here I was 100 days later about to listen to this voicemail for the 6th time and I knew that I just couldn’t torture myself any longer. I was worried that I’d never meet anyone like him again but I knew that I couldn’t hold on to someone who was willing to dismiss me so easily. I couldn’t save this message again and torture myself knowing that it was out there waiting to be listened to. I took one deep breath, exhaled slowly and hit the number 7 to erase him from my life.