The Longest Voicemail in History

“Hey sis, it’s me, Marla. I just wanted to let you know that I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately, and about what you said on the phone the other day. Now that I’ve been thinking about it, it makes me—well, it’s sitting pretty heavy. I’m sad that you feel that way.

I just wanted you to know that, you know, good things happen here too, and you know, we all miss you: Dad, Mom, and I. We really do want you here.

Oh, and I just have to tell you—the most amazing thing happened the other day!

Now I know you may not believe me, because well let’s face it, you are the older, wiser one that is always right, but seriously I can’t lie to you about this one because the whole town saw it.

So, get this—a star fell from the sky. No joke. You can ask anyone. I think the Sentinel even wrote a story about it.

Anyway, it happened a few days ago, during the meteor show. I was outside on the roof, sitting on our old spotty blanket that we used to keep under the eve of my dormer, you know, and Mom and Dad had gone to bed—it was around three a.m. I think—and the brunt of the shower had calmed down.

I was just chilling out there, thinking about things, about you mainly, and about Corey, which I’ve decided that he’s not really that into me because I saw him in the halls the other day and he didn’t even say ‘Hi’ when I passed him so really it was all just a fluke, but then—ah sorry off topic—then it was like there was this one huge bright streak that I swear burned my retinas.

I closed my eyes for a second and rubbed them to get rid of the spot, and when I opened them I was thinking at first that the spot in my eyes had actually gotten bigger, but then I realized that the star was still streaking across the sky—but then it was falling, and at first I was like ‘what the hell kind of dream is this?’ but then it just kept coming, and getting bigger, and it was happening so fast that I didn’t even realize until it had already fallen that it was right there in the Roberson’s yard—like right there—and it could have hit me.

But you know, I don’t even think I was thinking that at the time, because you know what? Luke was in the yard. And you know what he did? He caught it. He caught the flipping falling star.

I swear, sis, I can’t make this stuff up.

At this point I can’t even tell you what I was thinking– I don’t even think any of the usual curse words were running through my head. I think my mind was just kind of like beep, like you know, when a heart monitor goes blank after somebody isn’t breathing anymore, and I couldn’t pass a single thought through my mind. I just watched, eyes boggling and buckets of drool pouring out my mouth I’m sure, as he lifted the star, which was still glowing a dull red—like mom’s glass right when she takes it out of the kiln—and ate it.

I saw the glowing, pulsing—thing, star, whatever—slide down his throat, down the ribs of his esophagus, and into his belly. The night was late and it had just rained so it was like, completely silent except for the occasional dripping from the trees.

Luke turned around and went back inside and that was that, and if my eyes hadn’t been half-blind, I wouldn’t have believed them.

Now I know you must be thinking that I should have called out to him, asked him what the hell he was doing, but I just couldn’t. It was like how we always wondered what we would do if someone broke into our house, how we would say that we would grab this and that and lock the door and call the police you know? But then, when something really huge like that happens, I don’t think we’d really be able to do anything. I mean, this big thing was happening right in front of me and I didn’t do anything.

It was like someone had turned off the switch to the real world, like ‘jokes, you aren’t a real person and you are now in the Matrix and we just pulled the plug on your body ha ha.’

You know? I wonder if you felt that way when you got in that accident with Luke last year. I always meant to ask you about that, whose fault it really was, or like what the other car looked like, but I was afraid of what you would say. I’m sorry now that I didn’t ask. I would like to know now, if you would tell me.

Anyway, I was just sitting there on the roof, a puddle of spittle making the blanket all soggy, when twenty minutes later a car came down the cul-de-sac, driving slowly, and then it turned around and was gone. And then there was another car a few minutes later, and then another car came and parked in the Jacobson’s driveway. The people got out and wandered around for a bit, but they didn’t really come by our house so I couldn’t hear what they had to say.

But, you know, I bet they were looking for the star.

Okay sorry I guess that’s kind of the end of the story and I didn’t mean to tell you this all on a message but as you probably see, I’ve called you like three times already and I just have to talk to someone about this. I mean, I know I can probably just go to Mom or Dad and they may or may not believe me but at least they would listen. But I just felt—after our conversation—that you would like to know. I just want you to know that I want you to know. And that I miss you.

And, well, I guess it hasn’t really cut me off yet, which I find surprising, but whatever I guess that isn’t the end of the story.

The end of the story is that there isn’t one.

The next day there were some official people in the neighborhood, going from door to door asking if anybody had seen the star. I just stayed in my room when they came by. I don’t think I could hold something like that in. I mean they looked so official, with their suits and badges, I just think I would go all fish-faced and they would cart me away for electroshock therapy or something. You know?

I wonder who was home next door. I wonder if they all know about Luke, whatever he is, if they are all like that. I wonder if… I mean, you used to spend all your time over there. Did you ever notice anything weird? Like them having extra toes or being glow-in-the-dark when they sleep or having light shine out of their eyes or something? I just wish I knew more.

I just wish you were here.

Anyway, after the suits had left some reporters came through, a man and a woman armed with a notepad and camera. From what I heard from mom and dad over dinner—I just stayed in my room all day on the window seat—apparently a lot of people got photos of the meteor as it was descending to Earth. I thought it was weird because it was like—something that was so private to me and I guess Luke. And then, it was like, a phenomenon to the rest of the world. Everybody saw it, but they didn’t.

You should go look up pictures. There were some really cool ones, like somebody got one from up on a hill where it was like this huge green streak over our neighborhood. I think that was how they located where it should have landed.

To me though, it was really only that image of Luke, swallowing molten glass, nothing but rain dripping in our quiet suburban paradise. And, can you believe it? Nobody could figure out what happened.

The reporters eventually left because they couldn’t like, take a picture of anything besides some old Victorian and ranch-style houses with unexciting paint colors. There was no point of impact after all.

And so now it has been reduced to just that weird thing that happened last week, only a few days ago, and people are already talking about something new in school– like apparently Justin Beiber cut his hair or something– and I can’t help feel that, you know, more things like this happen all the time, and nobody really cares. I mean, the world is a strange place, right? Why question? Why ask anybody anything? Because nobody really knows the answers.

And that just makes me think of you again. I’m sorry that you have to listen to this, all my word vomit. You probably won’t understand the half of it. I just wish– I just wish you would call me, and maybe listen. I’m sorry I never asked you about things before.

Aw man. I can’t believe I’m leaving this all on your answering machine. How it is that when people get a job and move to a big city they just don’t have time anymore? They are like, ‘adult,’ and have bigger things to do in life besides talk to their family. I hope you don’t feel that way. I know that yeah, you may have felt a bit underappreciated, but now I just want you to know that you were not. We all really think that you are a wonderful person and we care about you. Really.

I want to hear about that. About your life now. Will you call me back? I’ll listen whatever you have to say. I swear.”


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