January 2014


  • Artwork by Adrian "Viajero" Roman
  • Editors:
    Tishon Woolcock
    Caits Meissner
    Anna Meister
    Nora Salem
  • Editor's Note:
    On Installations and Goodbyes

January 2014

I Left You A Voicemail

by Armi Roxas

It said:

I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’m supposed to get married tomorrow. Three years ago when I met him my first thought was, “Nope, won’t last.” Time passed and it was like I didn’t have much of a choice. I heard me saying yes when I really wanted to whisper an urgent, “Oh, no” and run. You should see the ring. It’s like your standard engagement ring drawn in a coloring book.

He picked it up from one of those places in the mall full of mannequin salespeople with canned lines and blank eyes, looking for someone who doesn’t mind a lot of credit card debt. He told me about the extra insurance he bought and how the diamond will be protected four lifetimes after I’m dead.

I thought we were done when he took the trip to Thailand two summers ago, even though I couldn’t be the one to say it. I’m not sure what it was, a screwed up sense of loyalty maybe, or something about following rules. Why does any of this matter anyway, because who finds their knight, right? That person who’s supposed to come out of nowhere to show you how one and one add up, how things aren’t as bad as they seem. It’s all bullshit because things are usually worse than they seem. All we ever do is pretend the dots connect.
Tell me, what would you do? Sleep it off? Pretend it’s not a workday and stay in bed without telling anyone? I did that once and woke up at 4pm panicking. I was still drunk from the night before so I just slept and my phone was dead. You know what I found when I finally turned it back on? 47 voicemails.

They started off normal, wondering where I was, if I was running late. Then agitated, nervous, asking what happened. Before I knew it, they were, angry, yelling, gone mad with worry. Caring about someone so much breaks you a little if you think something bad has happened.

I think I broke two summers ago when he came back. For the last three weeks of his vacation we didn’t talk. He never called and instead of feeling upset I was relieved. Maybe it could fade away. We wouldn’t have tears or a good-bye hug. We wouldn’t look at each other with last breaths of sympathy. I was glad to avoid it, but then he landed. I had circled the day three times in my calendar with a blue pen. My phone rang and I didn’t try hard enough to get it. He left a message, “I’m home. When can I see my girl?”

I played it about 10 times to make myself feel something, so I could be ready when he walked in the door. I just sat there, listening, trying to piece it together. Before I could play it again, he was yelling from the sidewalk, “Where is she? Where’s my dream girl?”

I opened our kitchen window and said, “You’re crazy!” and he said, “There she is!” I found myself running outside right into his hug, punching him with love in my tiny hateful fists saying, “I missed you, I missed you.” I was crying and so was he, but we both felt it shifting. The daytime sky was too bright. It felt like someone had built a tiny splint to keep us together, wrapped with fragile medical tape, the kind you can rip with your teeth.

About Armi Roxas
Armi Roxas has been writing stories since she was 8 years old, maybe 6, but her best piece of work to date is still the yet-to-be-titled novella penned in crayon about a curious bunny and his easter egg, from those heyday ’80s when she was young and full of promise.
She has been interviewed by The New York Times, Wired and The Today Show for generating sound bites on the millennial generation, text messaging and Internet etiquette because her day job requires her to spend a lot of time online (no, not porn, promise).
Ms. Roxas received a piece of paper from Pratt Institute that says she took some classes there, likes to eat ice cream on snowy days and hates to wear socks. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband and a fish named Mr. P.

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