blogging · friendship · Thoughts and feelings · Voice message · writing

Missed Call From a Stranger

The curiosity that fans out from me is like a familiar mist. The rectangular little tape recorder icon on the left corner of my screen means I have a new voice message. A quick glance at my phone icon tells me no missed call was logged into the system. One thing can be deducted from this: the call came from a blocked number. Briefly, I think of the usual culprit I am expecting; a spammer trying to sell me insurance or congratulating me on winning a free hotel spa trip. Haha, very funny. I can already picture myself with a scowl on my face, listening to the first few seconds of the voice message before hitting the 7 on the keypad for instant deletion. Clean and simple as it should be, but life isn’t always so expectant. The message plays, and the deep timbre voice I hear is not one I recognize. Instead I listen hard for to the spoken words. “Hey Nat, it’s ______. Call me back when you get the chance.” As the beep signals the end of the message, the automated mailbox operator drones on with further options. But it barely registers to me as background noise while I’m reeling from the message.

For several beats I’m confused. “Nat”, the person called me. I go around in circles trying to suss out who that was, each time my mind drew a blank as I was unable to reach an answer. Did I introduce myself as “Nat” to anyone in real life? Never. Was there a time someone knew me as “Nat”? Can’t recall. Stupidly, I think of when I first set up my voice mailbox and added my full first name to the standard greeting, “You have reached the voice mailbox of ______”, but I hadn’t used “Nat”. Again and again, I hit repeat on the message, understanding the request being asked of me from the automated voice but still in a state of utter confusion about the person’s identity.

Whether I didn’t listen closely enough or the speaker’s articulation was unclear to my ears, for the five or six times I replay the recording, I mistakenly believe he identified his name as my brother’s name. Still that doesn’t sit right with me. I know my brother would never call me “Nat” because he’s unaware such a nickname exists for me.

It’s only after I have the mailbox operator read back the call number in rapid-fire, which in my haste to copy it down as fast that I smash the replay button twice to get the numbers again, the missing piece of the puzzle falls into place. Not my brother, but a friend I left behind. I’m floored at the realization he called me. Months ago I severed all contact on social media and blocked his number with a determination to just move on without telling him my reasons. Selfishly, I wanted an unspoken and permanent break. No, no, no, there were no romantic implications. We were friends for a time until I made the decision to disappear without a word. I’m sorry for leaving but also not sorry.

Now his message, two days old, sits in my voice mailbox as a saved message. I will not keep it forever, so what am I waiting for? It’s nice and tidy for me to put up an emotional wall and believe there aren’t hurt feelings on his side. I’m sure he has questions although I’ll never answer them. I think back to the sound of his voice on the message, which didn’t ring a bell to me after months of cutting ties, almost like my ears picked up on a stranger’s tone calling me “Nat”.

Featured Image by Priscilla Du Preez.

5 thoughts on “Missed Call From a Stranger

  1. I’ve been getting so much spam calls lately IT’S SO ANNOYING
    but aw that weird feeling with broken up friendships.. I’ve cut off people before too or seen people do it…


    1. Spam calls are super irritating! I block the numbers but they still can get through to my voice mailbox, which is just weird… I mean, I thought when a number is blocked, I wouldn’t receive any messages they leave for me too?

      Yep, I chose to break the friendship… I don’t exactly hate him, and that’s not the reason why I disappeared from him, but yeah, there were some problems in the relationship where I just felt maybe my friendship with him had reached an end.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think if they’re blocked they just go straight to the voicemail sometimes. Which is dumb, for sure. And they call with so many different numbers I don’t even try to block now 😦

        Ah yeah it happens. I actually plan to write about it soon. Sometimes it isn’t about hating the person but just not connecting, or feeling drained by the other person.

        Liked by 1 person

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