Half the Words

In response to today’s daily prompt Bad Signal here is the tale of a girl called Ellie. She tells of a time she received a voicemail she couldn’t fully hear and the story that then unfolded.

I picked up my phone as I headed for the door checking it quickly for any messages. I saw a voicemail and his play. It was hard to decipher but I did catch a few words, “I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Goodbye.” My heart hammered in my chest at the words. I played it again trying to hear more, to find out what he was apologising for. Those words sounded so final.

Who is he? This was my brother, my little brother, who I’d do anything for. Who’d do anything for me. We hadn’t spoke in years though. Driven apart when I refused to be parted from my home town and he just couldn’t stay any longer. Now I had a voicemail I couldn’t hear and an apology I couldn’t understand.

Of course this led to me doing the natural thing in this situation. I panicked. Every possible bad situation must have run through my mind in the next few minutes. Then I started thinking, what do I do now? Once I’d calmed down slightly I realised the logical thing to do was to ring him back. So I did. No answer, so I waited and called again, still no answer. I kept trying again and again until finally I gave up hope.

Throwing my phone across the room, I slumped into a chair. After a moment I reached for a nearby cabinet and poured myself a glass of whiskey. I was about halfway through the glass when I had my next great idea. I tracked down the gps on his phone and the second I had a location I was out the door and into my car. Now, I know what your thinking. Drink driving. I never finished that whiskey though, in fact I had closer to two mouthfuls. Besides I was too worried about my kid brother

In the end I ended up parked outside a hospital. My heart felt like it would break as I looked up at the entrance. Finally I pulled together enough courage to enter the building and a few minuted of anxious searching later I found him. Not in pain or dying or any other horrible situation I had dreamed up but sitting in a chair. He wasn’t fine thought, I could see a tightness, a tension, in his body. “Tyler,” I said softly.

He jumped and turned to face me in shock. “I didn’t think you’d come,” he said just staring at me. “She’s in there now,” he added as if that explained everything.

“What’s going on Ty? I couldn’t hear most of your message,” I asked him.

“It’s Jemma, my wife. She’s giving birth to out child,” he told me. I rushed forward and enveloped him in a hug. My kid brother was going to be a father and he reached out to me so that I would know. He’d crossed the bridge I had broken between us. “I’m sorry I didn’t tell you sooner, Ellie.” He said as he embraced me back.

“You told me now. That’s all that matters,” I replied. His message wasn’t bad new at all. His words had left me worried, scared out of my mind but in the end there was nothing wrong. Everything was alright, in fact it was better than alright. The words I’d heard though had so many meanings that I hadn’t known that.



“I’m sorry. I should’ve told you months ago. Goodbye.” The only words you could make out on a voicemail. They would mean something different to all of us, mean something different depending who it was from, but they always mean something bad. They mean that whoever this person is they were scared, truly scared, about what you might think or how you might react. That in itself makes it that much worse that you couldn’t hear the rest of the voicemail because however they managed to pluck up the courage it was all wasted, they are just going to have to tell you again. If they are able to of course.

So tell me in the comments about a time you were to scared to tell someone something important. Did it end well? Were your fears justified? Or was it similar to Ellie’s story were it wasn’t even bad news but you still held back?

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