I have an intense, fear-fueled obsession with the human voice. At age sixteen I lost one of my closest friends; an event that was probably much different before the advent of the current technological age. She was no longer living, though her presence was still (superficially) available to us through social media websites, through videos, through things much more tangible than memories..
For months after her death, many people who knew her--myself included--would often call her still-connected phone line; never expectant of an answer, but in search of the comfort that was available through listening to her voicemail message. It was a poignant courtesy, an odd thing for us to have been afforded and, as so many other things, it was impermanent.
She wasn't really gone until I could no longer hear her voice, and the realization that I had heard it for the last time was almost harder to bear than the news of her death itself. I had become obsessed with keeping her alive. I had become obsessed with the idea of her absence being temporary. I had become confident that I'd found the loophole to death; that I had found some sneaky way of working around the gravity of the situation.
I began saving my voicemails. I could't--still, at times, can't--bear the thought that I would never hear her voice again. I had a moment of panic at the realization of how temporary the existence of not only her, but everyone I knew, was. I began compulsively refusing to delete the voicemails I would be left by anyone of importance in my life; I have a database. My father, my estranged mother, my sister, my lovers present and past.. friends, family, coworkers, people who have hurt me, people who have helped me.. On the surface, it's easy to brush this habit off now as just a way to hear their voices but, in a way, it feels as if I've constructed a method of immortality.