February 2, 2014

Michael Estabrook

ANSWERING MACHINE

“Pat hi, it’s me, pick up. I thought you were
there, guess not. Where are you? Where could
you be, my dearest? See you tonight then,
8 o’clock at our normal place, bye my love.”
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing on my
wife’s business answering machine. I came
home early from work to mow the grass. Who
was this man’s voice on my wife’s answering
machine? I played it again, “it’s me … see you
tonight … our normal place … bye my love.”
My heart, like a racing steam engine, truly
nearly pounded right out of my chest. Where
was she going tonight and to meet whom? How
could I find out? I couldn’t ask her, she’d have a
lie ready. Somehow I needed to follow her, but
then again maybe not. Do I really want to know
the details of the ruin of my life? I’ll kill this guy,
is all I can think, I will. I’ll have to kill this guy
for taking my wife from me. The courts will
understand. Adultery is truly a disgusting,
cowardly crime. I could never hurt her of
course, but him, well I’ll simply have to kill him,
soon as I find out who he is. Then I woke up
shaking and spent the whole day wondering if I
am a good husband, even bought her flowers on
my way home. (And checked her answering
machine when she wasn’t looking.)

from Rattle #20, Winter 2003

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