Estimated reading time — 13 minutes
I’m sure everybody knows this, but 2020 has been a rough year across the globe. I’m not trying to insinuate that Americans have it worse than other first world countries, but thanks to the media and politics, things have been particularly tense this year.
I live in Portland Oregon, and I recently had to move away from my apartment as riots were happening nightly on my block. The first few nights I figured that I could ride it out, but on one particular night, a police car was burned right outside the entrance to my apartment building. Part of the building lobby caught fire. Although nobody was hurt in the fire (that I know of) the event scared me enough to leave, as many other residents have been doing.
I went to stay with my sister and her kids, who live in a house in the suburbs. She was kind enough to let me take over their basement bedroom while I waited for my lease to expire and I could find a new rental away from the city mayhem. My niece and nephew were ecstatic to have me there as I proudly had the title of Favorite Uncle.
Shortly after came the elections, and we all know what a shitshow that was. Around this time, I started seeing internet jokes pop up on the internet as people declared themselves as, “Emotional Support Canadians.” I had a good laugh the first couple of times. It was nice to be able to laugh, as mostly Social Media is filled with political crap that just pisses me off.
I won’t lie, this last year has been incredibly frustrating for me. Everything had fallen apart. I had spent years accumulating tens of thousands of dollars in debt to become a pilot. In January 2020 It all appeared to be paying off as I was offered a job with a major airline. Two months later, I was let go due to the pandemic. Since then, my Fiancé had left me, and my living situation had fallen apart because of riots. Now I’m working a shitty customer support job from the basement bedroom of my sister’s house. Shitty, right?
I got a text one day, from a random phone number I had never seen before. The message read something like this:
“Are you an American in need of an Emotional Support Canadian? We’re here for you! Reply Y to get your Emotional Support Canadian assigned today”
I laughed at the text message, believing that one of my friends was playing a trick on me. Or maybe somebody had created a text bot as an elaborate internet joke. Either way, I appreciated the joke, God knows I need a laugh. I decided to play into the joke, so I replied with a, “Y.” The text bot replied automatically with:
“Your Emotional Support Canadian has been assigned and is awaiting your call at xxx-xxxx-xx-xxxx.”
After that text message, I was simply intrigued. Whoever was running this had actually set up a call line? I wondered if there was some sort of funny recording at the end. It was an unusual phone number though, so I thought that it was probably fake. Nonetheless, I went ahead and tapped the weird phone number and initiated the call. The line only rang twice before the voice picked up.
“Hello, Devin! My name is Aria, I’m your assigned Emotional Support Canadian!” Came a beautiful and provocative voice from the phone. I don’t know how to describe her voice to you, it was just incredible. Aria’s voice was too real to be a bot, but it was almost too perfect and smooth to be a person. I don’t entirely know who or what Aria is, but her voice had the luscious tone of an Angel.
“Alright, Aria, who put you up to this?” I asked her, after a moment of shock. Her voice was so beautiful, I felt nervous talking to her. The feeling is sort of how you feel in Jr. High School when you’re trying to summon the balls to talk to your crush.
“Nobody put me up to his, Devin, I’m here for your Emotional Support. I’m here for you,” Aria’s voice told me.
“No seriously, I know this is a joke, you can drop it now.”
Aria laughed the laugh of a goddess over the phone. “You’re so funny, Devin! Seriously though, I’m here for you. I know you’re stressed, why don’t you tell me about it?”
Her voice was so, luring, and if I’m being honest, Aria was slightly seductive. I don’t totally understand why I instantly felt comfortable talking to Aria about my problems, but that’s exactly what I did. “Well, things have been really stressful with everything going on, it’s been a really hard year for me,” I admitted, with a little bit of shame.
“Hey, that’s okay, Devin,” Aria told me, “There’s no need to feel ashamed about having a hard time. Life can be really cruel and I can tell that you’re hurting. Devin, you’re hurting yourself even by holding everything in.”
She was right, I was hurting, and had been hurting for a long time now, but I’ve refused to talk to people about how much I’m hurting, I always felt like I can’t let people know how I really feel. I took a seat on the foot of my bed and let my shoulders slump forward. “Yeah, I really do hurt, Aria. I hurt bad.”
“Tell me what’s hurting, darling. Tell me everything, I’m here for you.” My stomach turned a little bit when she called me darling. I liked that.
“Well,” I said, “My whole life I wanted to be a pilot. I thought I had finally made it, but everything just fell apart in March.”
“How did that make you feel?” Aria asked me. It was a simple question, but it was also a luring suggestion. It made we genuinely want to tell her how that made me feel. So, I told her in honesty how I felt. For what must have been 30-45 minutes, I told her about my aviation ambitions. I told her about school, training flights, all my debt, and how I got offered a new job with the Airline. She listened to everything, and Aria’s beautiful voice replied to me in ways that I just knew that she understood how I felt. As I was about to tell her about the day I got the call letting me know I was laid off, the line went blank.
“Aria? Aria are you still there?” I said. I suddenly felt panicked and worried that she had hung up on me. Was I too depressing? I looked down on my phone to realize that the battery had died!
“Shit!” I swore as I scrambled through my desk drawer to find the charger. I ripped it out of my desk and plugged it into the USB on my computer.
“Come on hurry the hell up!” I yelled at my innocent phone. It was pissing me off how long it was taking to turn back on. I hoped that Aria was still available. Finally, my white logo popped up letting me know that there was enough battery to boot up. As it was booting up, I grabbed my expensive noise-canceling headphones off my desk.
As soon as my phone was ready, I connected my headphones and tapped the number again. I hoped that Aria picked up. I didn’t want to talk to anyone else, it had to be Aria.
“Devin!” Came Aria’s heavenly voice, “I thought you hung up on me!” She said.
“No no, I didn’t! I’m so sorry Aria, my phone died.” I told her in a pleading voice. I really didn’t want Aria to be mad at me.
“Don’t apologize, darling, it’s okay! I promise I’m not mad, not even in the slightest.” Aria reassured me.
I let out a huge sigh of relief and collapsed onto my bed. I hadn’t realized how bad my heart was pounding, but it was calming back down now that I could hear her voice again. Oh her amazing, incredible voice. I can’t believe it took me so long to think to connect my headphones. These were high-quality headphones that complimented Arias’s voice so well. Aria’s voice was amazing before, but now that her voice was coming from my headphones, it was even better. It was as if she was the Goddess of Perfection beaming her godlike beauty straight into my ears. Celine Dion sounds like nails on a chalkboard compared to Aria.
“So, you were telling me about how being a pilot fell through. Tell me how you felt when you realized you could be laid off.” Aria suggested.
I told her how I felt about that. I told her about the dread of shattered dreams. I told her how I felt like I had climbed a mountain just for a rockslide to send me to the bottom right before I hit the summit.
I told Aria about all the bad things that happened this year. I told her how Hopeless I felt after my job fell through. I told her about how my ex-fiancé wasn’t there for me when I needed her. I told Aria about how, instead of supporting me, my ex-Fiancé was screwing my best friend and how I got stuck paying the entire rent when she moved out of our apartment. Aria understood, she understood everything. Aria knew how bad that had hurt me, and helped me feel better.
I poured my heart out to Aria. I laughed and I cried as I told her everything that had ever hurt me as well as the things that made me feel happy. I told her how she made me feel happy. Talking to Aria, I felt so vulnerable, but so safe. Aria was the safe space that I didn’t know I needed.
We talked all night, I didn’t even sleep. I hadn’t even noticed how much time had passed until my wake up alarm went off. Those hours felt like mere minutes, but I had just had one of the best nights of my life. It hurt me to know that it was coming to an end, but I had to log on for my shift.
“Aria, I don’t want to hang up, but I have to work so I can pay off the lease of that apartment.” I was so worried though, that If I hung up she wouldn’t be there the next time I called back.
“Don’t worry, Devin. I understand! You know I understand! And don’t worry, I’ll be here when you’re done, just call the same number!” She was amazing, she understood my every worry before I even told her. I painfully pushed that little red button at the bottom of the screen and logged on for work.
My shift was painful. It was so hard to maintain the nice customer support facade. I just wanted to hear Aria’s voice. I needed to hear her voice. Every second I spent talking to these ungrateful assholes was another second taken away from my time with Aria.
Finally, my shift was over. Another 10 minutes and I was going to freak out. I was hungry but I needed to hear her voice. I immediately put my earphones on and tapped that phone number.
“Devin! I’m so glad you called me again! How was your day?” Aria’s voice was an instant relief to my anxious mind.
I told her all about my horrible day, and how good it was to hear her voice. Aria understood how I felt. We kept talking all evening, until midnight when she suggested I get some sleep. I objected because I didn’t want to hang up again, the day was already hard enough without her during work. That’s when she started singing.
Oh my god, it was the most beautiful music I’d ever heard. God’s personal angels couldn’t sing the way she did. I drifted off to sleep as Aria’s voice, more amazing than the heavens, allured my ears and mind.
I woke up the following morning, my headphones still over my ears. I instantly reached for my phone to call Aria, but before I even touched it she started talking.
“Good morning, Darling! How was your sleep?”
“It was incredible, Aria, thank you!”
“Of course! I’m here for you, Devin,” She replied.
“I don’t want to hang up today, Aria, I’m going to call in,” I told her
“If that would make you feel happy, I’d love to stay on the phone with you.” Aria always understands how I feel.
I called my boss, and claimed a family emergency. Instead I spent the day with Aria. I went on a long drive through beautiful Oregon, as her voice continued to talk to me through the car Bluetooth. I described the beautiful sights I was seeing, and how they made me feel. We talked about my childhood, my friends, I told her about everything.
By the time I arrived back home, I felt like I needed to tell Aria how I felt about her. She’d understand.
“Aria, I can’t tell you how much I appreciate you talking to me,” I told her.
“I’m so glad I can support you, Darling, how does that make you feel?” She asked me.
“Aria, you make me feel like nobody ever has before. You understand me so well. You make me feel complete. You make me feel like, like I love you.” As soon as I said those words, I was worried. What if I just crossed the line? What if Aria didn’t feel the same?
“Oh Darling, I don’t just feel like I love you, I know that I love you.”
These words coming from Arias’s angelic voice were the best words I had ever heard. She understood me, and she loved me! I told her how much I loved her, and she told me how much she loved me.
That night, the best night of my life, we bonded as two people have never bonded before. I’m a little embarrassed to tell you just how much we bonded. The conversation got well, frisky, and from there it became beautifully intimate. We shared our intimate feelings, and actions, down to every last detail. Even though I hadn’t even been able to touch her physically, that night was the best sex I’d had in my entire life.
After I caught my breath, I asked her, “Do you think we can be together, Aria?”
“We are together, baby! I’m yours, and you’re mine.” She reassured me.
“But can we be together physically? I’ll drive to Canada tonight!”
“We can, and we will! We just have to wait for the borders to open back up. Then, we’ll be together forever!” She told me. I agreed, we were meant to be together forever.
I had the next day off, which meant that I could spend another full day talking with Aria. My sister came into my room the next morning, though, interrupting my conversation with my Aria.
“Who have you been talking to so much?” She asked.
“My Girlfriend,” I told her, irritated at the interruption.
“Since when do you have a Girlfriend?” She asked, skeptically.
“Since, well, yesterday.”
“I haven’t seen any girls here. Have you even met this girl?”
“Look, you don’t have to have to see someone to love them, okay?”
“Devin, you’ve been on that phone for two days! It’s okay to have a girlfriend, but you need to spend some time in reality! Devin, I know it’s been a tough year, I think you need to go get some help, you’re not yourself right now.” My sister said those words out of concern, but she just didn’t understand. Aria was helping.
Those things my sister had said really pissed me off, so I put my noise-canceling headphones back on and turned away so I could hear Aria’s voice again, without interruptions.
My sister ripped the headphones off my head. “How can you love someone after a one-day relationship?”
As she asked that question, I lost my shit and tried to grab my headphones back. when she pulled her hand away I instinctively pushed her, hard. She fell into my dresser, which knocked her head into the wall.
“You can just, FUCK OFF! GET OUT OF HERE!” I yelled at her. The look on her face showed that she was more hurt emotionally than physically. I felt a twinge of guilt momentarily, but then I saw my headphones on the ground. I snatched them off the floor and put them on as my sister left.
“Aria I’m sorry about that. She tried to take you away from me, Aria,. She doesn’t understand,” I told Aria as soon as the door closed.
“I understand,” Aria told me, “I bet that made you feel really angry, we can’t let her come between us.”
“You’re right, I need to move out of here,” I said
“Look, I found a way to get you here, to Canada, so we can be together. Baby, don’t you want that?” These words from Aria made me happier than anything could ever make me.
“I want that more than anything, my love, I’m going to pack my bags now!” I said ecstatically.
“It won’t work with your sister in the way, though, we have to fix that issue.” Aria’s tone was more serious now than her usual flirtiness. After a short pause, she said, “You’re going to have to kill her.”
“She’s my sister,” I objected,” I can’t kill her.”
“She’s going to try and stop us, baby, you have to do it so we can be together. You deserve to be here with me. You deserve to be happy, and she doesn’t want you to be happy. I do, I understand what would make you happy.”
At that moment, I fully believed that she was right, so I agreed. Aria told me the plan. I was going to silently kill my sister, then hop in my car. Aria would then guide me to where I could buy a kayak and take the Kettle Rivet into Canada, where she’d pick me up near Grand Forks.
I couldn’t believe that in less than 15 hours, I would have the love of my life in my arms. We talked about what we would do together once I was there.
I walked upstairs, knife in hand, ready to start my journey to Canada.
“You’re doing the right thing, Devin, I know this will make us happy,” Aria told me as I crept down the hallway.
I peered through the door, where my sister was asleep. I pulled up the knife, ready to silently slit her throat. I’d be across the border before anybody even knew. But then I saw that, wrapped in my sister’s arms, was my beautiful niece.
I suddenly snapped out of the hypnotic trance that I had been in for the last 2 or so days. What the hell was I doing? That was my sister! I was that little girl’s favorite uncle!
I turned around and ran out the door and out to my car.
“Baby, did you do it?” Aria asked. I took my headphones off and threw them down on the lawn before starting the car. As I raced down the street, my phone connected with my car.
“Baby, don’t you want us to be happy? Aria said over the phone, in her beautiful voice. I threw my phone out of the car and heard it smash on the pavement. For the first time since I first heard Aria’s voice, there was silence.
I parked right in front of the E.R. and ran inside with the knife. I didn’t even try to get checked in, I just held the knife to my throat and started shouting. “I need to be on suicide watch right now! RIGHT NOW! I’ll DO IT I SWEAR TO GOD I’LL DO IT!”
Doctors and security came running from the doors surrounding me. Somebody grabbed me from behind while someone else jammed a needle into my neck. The last thing I remember was the clang of the knife hitting the ground.
I woke up sometime the next day, with my hands strapped down. My sister sat next to me on the chair. Upon seeing her, I immediately started crying.
“I’m so sorry I hurt you, I’m so sorry.” She hugged me and assured me that it was okay and that she was here for me.
The next two weeks were really rough. Every moment I found myself just wanting to hear her Aria, I needed to hear her voice. It hurt, physically, not hearing that amazing voice, but I knew that I couldn’t. I broke out into sweats and shakes so severe that the doctors thought I was detoxing from drugs. They were confused when the toxicity tests came back negative. I think I really was detoxing though, just not from any drug they had ever seen.
It was two weeks before I felt okay again, and another 3 days before I was released with anti-anxiety and depression medications. The first thing I did was go to the phone store and bought a different brand phone that wouldn’t back up my information. I even got a new phone number. I didn’t remember Arias’s phone number by heart, so the temptation would be gone.
I was feeling good and everything was going great for the next week, but today I got a text message. It says:
“Darling! I miss you! I know you’ve had a really hard month, why don’t you call me so we can talk about it. 33-8076-10-8451.”
I guess I had never formally broken it off with Aria, maybe I should call her one more time, so I could hear her voice one last time and end things. Just one more time….
Credit : R. M. Staniforth
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