The phone rang, its shrill voice breaking through the darkness and silence. The obsolete machine continued to follow the rules dictated by its hardware, oblivious to the portable devices that had replaced it. And it was not alone. After several more rings, an answering machine clicked on.

“Hello. I’m not home right now. Please leave a message after the beep.” A click followed and the the tone signaling the caller to talk.

A female voice, distorted by the old, shoddy speaker, echoed through the room. “I cannot believe you still have a landline. Are you ever going to make it into the 21st century?

“Anyway, about last night… I know you’re upset. I was hoping to catch you, to talk to you…

“Look. This isn’t easy for me, either. I don’t like it, and I don’t want you to think I wanted this to happen. But sometimes it does, and we just have to figure out how to move on. It’s up to me to decide what to do about it, but I still want to talk to you.

“I… I don’t feel right talking about this on an answering machine. I don’t know where you are or what you’re thinking. Just call me back, okay? I’ve got my cell with me.”

After the faint sound of the line going dead, the machine turned off. Bleakly, the red light flashed in the darkness, announcing that there had been an attempt to communicate. The significance, however, was lost on the empty room.

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