Last month I left on a business trip Monday night and returned Thursday evening to an answering machine filled with messages. Ten in total. The first went something like this:
“Ahhh, hello? Is this Mae? This is James. I’m looking for Mae.”
I recognized his voice immediately. Nine years ago I trained James. His Dad was a President of another division and my company was told to hire him. We did and no one wanted to train him. So, James bounced around a bit and was then given to me to shape into something useful. James was blond haired, blue eyed and not used to being told what to do. Sometimes he complained to his Dad and his Dad would say, “Just do what she says”. Believe me, it was nothing arduous. My advice was always to show up prepared, on time and without a hangover. James always showed up on time and the other two requirements he did in degrees. Still, his training was fun. We laughed a lot and since I had 20 years on him it was kind of refreshing. I trained him for about 6 months and then he was on his own. I didn’t see him much for the next two years. The last time I spoke to him he was quitting and headed for greener pastures in banking. I wished him well.
I was happy he called but the messages went on. By the fifth there was a turn.
“Hi Mae. I’ve decided, I want to have sex with you.”
I stood at my desk still wearing my coat. The pleasure I initially had when hearing his voice vanished. I could tell this was going down a bad road. I still had five more messages.
“Mae, I don’t know why you won’t pick up the phone. I know you’re there.”
“Mae, why won’t you speak to me?”
Suddenly, the phone rang again and I answered.
“James, I’ve been out of town and have a message machine filled with your voice. Do you know who you are calling?” By this time, I just assumed he had one too many drinks or some kind of drug and had confused me with a love he must have had. James and I never had anything romantic between us. He insisted though and I remained confused.
“No James, there was never anything between us.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes James, I would remember.”
We hung up but a half hour later he called again.
“Mae, what I really wanted to say was I just want to treat you like my whore.”
“Oh James,” I said in a sigh, “That’s never going to happen. Don’t call me again.” I was now brusque, he whined and we hung up. He continued to call all that week and into the next. That’s when I realized I’m never home. I’m always out photographing or meeting up with friends. My message machine was filling up.
I don’t think I’m in danger but I went to the police and registered a complaint. They weren’t very concerned since he is 2,000 miles away in Arizona. My instinct tells me they are right. James rarely calls now. When he does, he leaves messages about happiness and the past. He’s in some kind of financial trouble. He keeps reaching backward to find comfort. I haven’t been around to tell him to face forward and embrace the future. There is happiness there, it just doesn’t look like how you dream it will be.
Vita says, “I always knew that boy had a crush on you.” My brother-in-law says, “I think the police thought you were bragging.” I howl in laughter at both of them. Yes, 2012 is starting out much differently than the last two years and I think it’s going to be a good one.
I just love even numbers.