I was sitting on a bench in the park the other day (I’ve turned into an old Simon & Garfunkel song), thinking about what to write next when Caryn texted me.
“So I was deleting my voice messages on my phone and found one from Rob on Valentine’s Day 2018,” she wrote. “So fuckin’ weird.”
“Wow!! Can you send it to me?” I asked. “I don’t have anything with his voice.”
A few minutes later, she did. The whole thing lasted less than 10 seconds. This is what he said:
Hey mother. I just wanted to call and say Happy Valentine’s Day. I love you. Gimme a call back. Bye.
That was it!
Of course, I cried the moment it began, but then I just kept playing it over and over because I was so happy to hear his voice again. Strangely or maybe not so strangely, I don’t have any video of Rob as an adult or any saved voicemails. In other words, this was the first time I had heard his voice since the day before he died.
“I miss hearing his voice,” I texted Caryn.
“How many times have you listened to it?” I asked.
“Once. I found it this morning and I still feel sick from it.”
“Hmm…I wonder how you’d feel if you just kept playing it,” I suggested. “I’ve heard it about six times already. I wish there was just a little more.”
“I know. It’s such a tease.”
“If I was more musically inclined, I’d loop this voicemail and make some type of a song out of it.”
“That would be very cool. Very Kanye of you,” she said. “Hope you feel something positive from it.”
So far, I’ve listened to it 38 times…no, 39, and on the surface, it’s really nothing special. He’s not in a particularly good or bad mood…make that 40…it just sounds like he’s still here with us, waiting for Caryn to call him back.
To my ears, it was just a quick hit kind of thing, better (and cheaper) than sending a card, candy or flowers. But the truth is, I can’t think of a finer gift for a mother than hearing from her son on the sweetest day of the year.
The 41st time, I heard Rob, the good son: Hey mother.
The 42nd time was thoughtful Rob: I just wanted to call and say Happy Valentine’s Day.
The 43rd time was Rob, our little boy: I love you.
The 44th time was Rob, who loved you, Car, and wanted to hear your voice: Gimme a call back.
The 45th time sounded exactly like the last time I saw Rob: Bye.