Hank gripped the old dial-up telephone firmly in his hand, desperately waiting for his moment to speak.
“Hey, this is Chris, leave a message!” chimed the answering machine. He paused, waiting for the beep to signify when to continue. A moment later, he was notified by the low dial tone that it was his turn to talk.
“Hey, sport... It’s me. It’s your father.”
There was no reply, even though it was a Tuesday evening, when Chris was typically at home after work.
“I know you’re busy right now, and I wanted to make my call quick - I’m an old man, son. I don’t have much time left, and I’m sorry.”
“I’m sorry for all the days wasted between us, the days arguing. The days spent ignoring each other in silence.”
Hank sobbed into the telephone receiver. He had told himself that he would not cry, that he would stand resolute. He lied.
“I know we haven’t spoken in years, I’m sorry for that.”
He hesitated briefly, and cleared his throat, before continuing.
“I want to make things right, Chris. Please, I know you won’t forgive me, that’s understandable. I won’t forgive myself! I just want to hear the sound of your voice.”
He was met with nothing.
“I guess you’re not there. Please, call back. I miss you.”
Hank hung up the receiver. He turned, and stepped out of the dismal phone booth he was standing in.
In his house, Chris sat on his sofa, curled under the blanket. By his right hand was a bowl of chips, and by his left was a framed picture of his father. As he heard the answering machine play the message, he felt tears well up inside of him –
This was the fifth anniversary of his father's death.
Written by The Minister of Fear