You Can Leave a Message, But She’ll Never Call You Back
It has been 5 months since Lisa died.
Everyone avoided her home phone this entire time. There were dozens of messages on the answering machine. (So old school.)
It got passed around like a hot potato and landed at my house. We all assumed that the messages would be telemarketers and bill collectors and wrong numbers, but I plugged the phone into the power in my office and let it sit there, charging.
For almost two months.
I just finished listening to and deleting all of the hangups and marketing calls, thankful that there were no personal messages from anyone who hadn’t heard the news of Lisa’s passing. I thought maybe I will use this phone for our newish home phone line, the one I got installed just in case something happens to me. That was in a fit of panic, thinking what if I drop dead and I’m home alone with the kids? What if they can’t wake me up and they don’t know where my iPhone is?
So back in December I activated a bare-bones land line, bought an old-school handset phone for $20, slapped a Batman logo sticker on it, and plugged it into the jack. It’s hidden in a corner, and it never rings because I didn’t give anyone the number besides my mother. I showed Kyle, and showed him how to dial 911. We call it the Bat phone.
Now here I am having inherited Lisa’s fancy digital phone with an answering machine and two handsets. Before I switched it out with my lame $20 phone, I remembered to check the greeting message.
Well, that was dumb.
Of course it was Lisa, welcoming the caller to leave a message and to have a nice day, in her lilting singsong voice that does not at all match the picture one imagines when one thinks of a kickass neonatologist at the top of her field, one who ran triathlons and saved babies in Haiti and made the most amazing hors d’ouvres I’ve ever tasted. No, her voice belonged to an 11-year-old Valley Girl.
And there will never be another one like it.