Art came home from work to his quiet and lonely efficiency apartment. As he started frying and egg he noticed the light blinking on his 80â€™s style answering machine. He hit the button to listen to the messages.
â€śMessage one,â€ť said the answering machine in a mechanical voice, then his mother's voice sounded, â€śHey son, this is mom. I guess I missed you. I love you. Talk to you later.â€ť
Art smiled. He knew his mother loved him. In fact, she never let him forget it â€“ which he didnâ€™t mind one bit.
â€śMessage two: Oh gosh,â€ť a familiar voice spoke, â€śI canâ€™t believe Iâ€™m callingâ€¦uhm Art, this is Faith. Say, I know itâ€™s been a long time and all, but I thought, you know, maybe we could talk. Maybe you could give me a call? Bye.â€ť
Art stood silent and motionless. It was the smell of burning egg that snapped him out if it. He pulled the pan off the burner. He looked down at the overly fried egg and laughed. â€śThis is your brain on drugsâ€ť just popped into his head. Then he hit the rewind button on the answering machine and played the message from Faith again.
Memories and emotions flooded him mind and heart.
â€śNo, no,â€ť Art said to himself, â€śNope. No good.â€ť He erased the message.
Art came home from work and began to fry and egg for dinner. Again the light on the answering machine was blinking. He hit the play button.
â€śMessage one: Art, itâ€™s your mother again. Just calling to say I love you. Good-bye.â€ť
Art gave his usual smile and mumbled, â€śYou can always count on mom.â€ť
â€śMessage two: Hey Art, itâ€™s me, Faith. I hope you got my message yesterday. Uhmâ€¦look, Art, Iâ€™ve been thinking â€“ hoping really, that well, even though we didnâ€™t part on such good terms, maybe we could talk. Call me, if you want to. Bye.â€ť
â€śNot the best of terms?â€ť Art mumbled to himself lifting the egg onto a plate, â€śThatâ€™s an understatement.â€ť
He sat down at his table and ate his egg.
Art came home from work wondering if there was another message from Faith. He hit the button on the answering machine and looked in the refrigerator â€“ no eggs. He poured a glass of milk and put a couple slices of bread in the toaster.
â€śMessage one: Arty, this is mom. I have some sad news. The cat died. Iâ€™m so sorry, Arty. Rubicon is gone. I know you loved her so much. Call me if you need to talk. I love you. Good-bye.â€ť
Art frowned, thinking about the cat. He really did love the cat. Then he started thinking how old Rubicon must have been, especially in cat years. It was time to get past Rubicon.
â€śMessage two: Hi Art, itâ€™s Faith again. I know itâ€™s probably hard to hear my voice and I donâ€™t blame you if you just erase these messages when you know itâ€™s me. But, if you are still listening, Iâ€™ve been doing a lot of thinking. (long pause) Art, I was wrong about you. Gosh, well, there, I said it. Well, what do you say after that? You can call me if you want to. Bye.â€ť
Art stood frozen with surprise â€“ eyes wide and eye brows up. The toast popped up and brought him back to dinner. Art spread some peanut butter across the toast and turn on his favorite CD, Handelâ€™s Messiah.
Art came home from work thinking about what Faith had said the yesterday. Her confession confronted his skepticism and he was forced to wonder if Faith was for real. The light on the answering machine was blinking. He hit the button and poured a glass of wine and put some bread in the toaster.
â€śMessage one: Art, itâ€™s mom. Iâ€™ve been thinking about Rubicon all day. I buried her in the back yard today, right next to Hatchet the cat. I feel like itâ€™s too early to think about getting another cat. At the same time, I know I need to move on. I love you.â€ť
â€śMessage two: Art, itâ€™s Faith. I read through one of my old journals today. Remember how much fun we used to have? Remember how everyone thought we were the perfect couple? Gosh Art, what was I thinking? How was it that I ever thought I could get along without you? I am wondering if you will call me. Byeâ€ť
Art sat down with his wine and toast in his most comfortable chair. He sat there to think about Faith.
Art came home from work early, anticipating a phone message from Faith. The blinking light on the answering machine was a welcome sign. Art stood over the machine.
â€śMessage 1: Art, itâ€™s mom. I saw a commercial on the television put on the by the local human society. Tomorrow is adopt-a-pet day. I know it feels too early to get another cat, but theyâ€™re waiving the fees for shots and getting them fixed, so I'm thinking about taking a risk before my heartâ€™s ready. Maybe Iâ€™m crazy, but I think Iâ€™m going to do it. I love you.â€ť
â€śMessage two: Art, itâ€™s Faith. Iâ€™m sitting here all alone thinking, â€�what good is Faith without Art?â€™ Iâ€™m really wanting to know what youâ€™re thinking. Bye.â€ť
Art went outside to take a walk. He knew that if he stayed in his apartment, he would pick up the phone. So he walked the downtown sidewalks and pondered what good Art was without Faith.
Art slept in on Saturdays with the ringer off. He woke up at noon and made his way to the kitchen. The light on the answering machine was blinking. He pushed the button.
â€śMessage one: Art, itâ€™s Faith again. Look, I want to talk with you, but I kind of feel like Iâ€™m bothering you. So, I just want you to know that the door is open. If you want to walk though it, Iâ€™ll be in church tomorrow. Iâ€™d love to meet you there. Byeâ€ť
â€śMessage two: Arty, I got me a new cat this morning. Yeah, my heartâ€™s not totally ready, but I figured, â€�what the heck? Go for it!â€™ I need a cat and the little furry guy needs me. I named him Guts. I figured you would like that name. I love you. Good-byeâ€ť
Art went to the athletic club to work out, feling the need for strength.
Art woke up early on Sunday for the first time in ten years. He showered, got dressed, dusted off his Bible and took a deep breath. Then he walked out his apartment door. He walked to church because he wanted to find Faith.