I have recently begun following Marc over at Daily Writing Practice. He provides a daily prompt to get the writing juices flowing. He seems to lean towards poetry. Although I like poetry and enjoy writing it, I prefer to write short stories. Hopefully that won't irk him too much. If it does, I'm sure he'll let me know. Right, Marc?
The other day, his suggested prompt was "the miles between us". Oddly enough, the night before, my dad had left me a voicemail message that brought me to tears. Marc commented on my submission, saying "if that wasn't non-fiction I'll be even more impressed." Sorry, Marc, but truth, as they say, is stranger than fiction. And, quite frankly, I don't think I'm that good a writer.
This is what I wrote. I know my brother reads this blog. So, Budge, get Dad to read this today and wish him a Happy Father's Day for me. I'll see you guys next weekend when we celebrate Memère's 99th Birthday. That's right. My grandmother turns 99 this Tuesday. More on that in a few days. In the meantime ...
The little red light flashes on my mobile, indicating a voice message. I sigh. I didn’t hear it ring. “Damn thing never seems to work,” I mutter, as I stab the numbers to retrieve the message.
The annoyingly pompous automated voice tells me I have one new message. I punch two to retrieve it and wait for what I’m sure is some jerk trying to sell me something.
And I hear my father’s familiar laugh. “Hey favourite daughter!” He chuckles into the phone. We have a long-running gag between us. He calls me his Favourite Daughter and I call him my Favourite Dad. The joke being, of course, that I’m the only daughter.
He uses the typical Northern Ontario dialect, a haphazard mix of French and English. “Je suis à la ferme et je jouais avec mon phone. Ton numéro a monté et j'ai juste voulu entendre ta voix. OK. I’ll let you go. Talk to you later. Love you! Bye.”
Clearly, Dad was playing with his new cell phone and accidentally called me. And rather than hang up (he’s far too polite to do that) he left me a message. I could tell that he hadn’t meant to call and was having a good laugh at himself. No one laughs harder at Dad than Dad.
My eyes fill with tears. My parents live a five-hour drive away, and with our respective schedules, I don’t get to see them as often as I like. Hearing my Dad’s voice suddenly made the misery of the past few weeks much more bearable.
I replay the message, whisper “I love you too” and gently press seven to save.