I had a boyfriend who surreptitiously kept every answering machine message I left for him in our extended courtship. One day after we'd been dating for four years I found a box of that year's worth of messages. I asked him about it and he said "Every day for that year I thought soon I'd just never hear from you again..."
Oh, man, why am I even talking about this?
"Partly for the sheer novelty value, and partly because I thought it might provide a sort of audio diary of the time, I decided to keep the first tape, and instead of turning it over to use it again, I replaced it with a fresh one. I did the same with the next cassette, and then the next, and gradually I began to think that there might be an interesting project in the making.
As the months became years, I duly numbered and labelled each tape before storing them all in a shoe-box. I didn't set out to keep them for 20 years - it just took me that long to get around to doing anything with them. But as the number of incoming calls diminished to a trickle - not just because most of my old pals had got married or had children, but also because new technology had rendered my trusty old machine a relic - I decided to take action, and began the long process of listening to all the messages again.
It felt a little like therapy as I revisited two decades' worth of friendships, romantic interludes and social engagements. Some, like the one from dad, brought a lump to my throat. Others took me back through the years with unnerving clarity. Was it really a dozen years since my ex-girlfriend Kim broke my heart?...."