I pushed the wrong button and it was gone forever.
A couple of years ago, our son recorded the message on our answering machine. It started fairly routinely: “Hi, you’ve reached the Ash-Roberts household. We can’t take your call right now, but if you leave your name and number, we’ll get back to you.”
It ended this way, with a bit more urgency and all the authority an 11-year-old’s sing-song voice could muster: “If you’re calling for Evan, please leave a message.”
Evan is 13 now. His voice changed over the summer, dropping to the hard, flat sound typical of a teenager from the upper Midwest. The voice on the answering machine was our only audible link to the way he used to sound.
I wanted to record the recording, to preserve that memory. But I pushed the wrong button, or perhaps the right button at the wrong time. The answering machine erased Evan’s message rather than playing it.
I am as bummed about screwing that up as anything I’ve been bummed about in a long, long time. Of course, I still can hear Evan’s sing-song voice in my head. My only hope is that the memory lingers.