by Lis Anna-Langston
He mumbles. Nothing coherent. Just things he didn’t say way back when. When I was the one. It’s a kind of therapy. Cheaper than the real stuff. Talking to someone’s voice mail at 3 AM after six pints of beer has a bit of boldness in it. Kind of. I admire his long, candid sighs. It doesn’t erase the fact that he’s married. It doesn’t erase the fact that he’s on the other side of the country staring at sext messages wondering how he ever let me go. Tonight he is nostalgic, talking about a night at the Antenna Club. A night that plays over and over in both our minds like a broken record, a CD skipping. There is no digital comparison I can make. Our feelings are not mp3 friendly. Technology has smoothed the edges. Simplified our affections. The past skips like a broken record. Still, I listen to the message. Twice. Save it. I’ve never phoned him drunk. My exchanges with him are a naked homage to the dumb teenagers we still are. Sometimes I get a little dizzy hearing his voice. It happens. Some days I even welcome such silliness. Tonight he is asking me if I’ll always be there for him. Like an anchor. Yet we drift out into the sea of his heartbreak. I don’t answer at 3 AM. It rings and he leaves a message. If I answered, that long scratch of broken record would return to the song and while I hum the tune of him and me for days on end, I constantly forget the words.
About the Author
Lis Anna-Langston is an award-winning author with dozens of awards and publications. Her awards and honors include: Parents' Choice Gold Book Award, Moonbeam Children's Book Award, Dante Rossetti First Place Award, Literary Classics Gold, two Pushcart nominations, and the Helene Wurlitzer Grant. She is the author of Tupelo Honey, Skinny Dipping in a Dirty Pond, and the short story collection Tolstoy & the Checkout Girl. Born in the South, she loves writing about misfits, screw ups, outlaws, and people who generally don't fit into nicely-labeled boxes.
Raised amid fabulous wealth and staggering poverty as a macrobiotic vegan Buddhist in the Mississippi River Delta region by a family descended from Cherokee Indians, she spent her entire middle school and high school career at a school for the Creative and Performing Arts, then went on to study Literature at Webster University and Creative Writing at University of North Carolina at Asheville. She loves old rotary phones, fireflies on warm summer nights, French hip-hop, falling in love, and the sound of chinchillas dreaming.
Her short fiction has been published in dozens of literary journals including: Steel Toe Review, Cactus Heart Press, Per Contra, Storyacious, Gravel Literary, Bedlam Publishing, The Merrimack Review, Vine Leaves Literary Journal, Kaaterskill Basin Journal, Sand Hill Review, Conclave, Milk Journal and The MacGuffin Literary Review.
You can learn more about her at: www.lisannalangston.com