36: Messages

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Autumn walks home from school alone, Adrian nowhere to be found. She plops her things on the ground. 

She lets herself listen to the 87 messages on the phone. 

"87 new messages, 2 saved messages," it drones. 

"First message: 'Hi, Jenna, this is Autumn's doctor. We have not yet set up Autumn's next appointment. We should do so as soon as we can, so we can guarantee her a longer life. I'm starting to worry about both of you, so please give me a call so I know both of you are alright. Thank you,'" 

Autumn sighs. That was yesterday that that message was received. 

Most are the same. She listens to the first few, then lets them ramble on as she occupies herself with science homework. Towards the end, she hears a different voice. 

"Eighty-seventh message: 'Autumn, I'm sorry. I love you, and I know you're probably angry, but I really do. I'll miss you. Maybe we'll see each other again one day." 

Her mother. 

She runs to the phone to delete it, to erase every memory she has of her so her sorrow can be erased with it, but stops herself. This was the only sample of her mother's voice that she had left.

She can't stop the tears from bubbling over. She crumples to the floor and releases her tears, just now realizing how much she misses her mother. 

The first saved message is a call from one of her mother's friends, recorded two years ago. She's being invited to some party. 

The second one's voice she doesn't recognize. It's a male's voice, probably in his twenties. His voice is enthusiastic and has insane fluctuation, like he's telling a story to little kids. It was recorded over twenty years ago.

Autumn takes a breath to quiet herself to hear who was so important that her mother had never deleted the message after so long. 

"Hi mom! Hi dad! I just wanted you to know that I'm having a blast in college. I'm learning a lot. I miss you guys already. Maybe you can come and visit me down here sometime? I know it's a long flight, but, I don't know, over Christmas or something." There's a pause. "Oh! And this is a message for mom - Dad said you guys might be thinking about getting me a sibling?" The man chuckles a little bit. "That's so cool. If so, its name should start with A. You know, since me and Mom have the same initials, maybe Dad should have the same initials as someone, too. Just a thought. Miss you guys, and happy Wednesday!"

There's a click. "No more messages."

Autumn is in shock. 

"Hi mom! Hi dad!" the voice had said.

"I'm having a blast in college."

"Me and Mom have the same initials."

She whispers it, like afraid he's in the room.


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