Voicemail Memories


“Have you called grandma yet?” My mom had finished blowing her hair dry, and straightened to brush it out.

“No, not yet,” I said. “I will now.” I grabbed my mom’s cell and began to dial.

“That would be a good idea,” mom said. “We can’t visit without knowing if she’s home or not.”

I didn’t reply, but punched in grandma’s number. Waiting, the phone rang while I picked at the arm of the couch.

An automated voice told me how to leave a voicemail; which I ignored. At the tone, I was surprised to hear my own nine-year old voice carefully over-exaggerating my grandma’s name in a high, tinny tone; to be sure it was pronounced correctly.

“Sophie… Anne… Smith.*”

I chuckled and hung up. It took me back to the hot parking lot where I recorded it, ten years ago.

I had opted to wait in the car while my grandparents finished shopping. They had taken me on an errand to Sam’s Clubs, next to PetSmart. I remember so clearly the hot smell of the leather seats, the scraping noise of the seat belts as they slid into place. I had sprawled across the back seat, sticky in the heat, and set up her voicemail. My aunt had gifted me some pillows that I was still carrying in the car– orange and pink cushions. I amused myself by taking photos of myself with the pillows to set as my contact photo.

How funny that such little things can bring such big memories.

*Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

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