Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Call That Almost Came

Friday, I was having lunch with a friend at Subway.  I was in the middle of eating my sandwich and simultaneously explaining how if he'd just listened to my advice a couple months earlier, he would not be dealing with a sticky situation he was now facing at work.  I was trying to be diplomatic about it and not to say "I told you so," but really, I did tell him so.

My phone rang.  It was in my purse.  I was holding Isaac's leash and also eating, which takes two hands.  Plus I was in the middle of my "I told you so."  So I let the phone call go to voice mail.  No one ever calls me anyway.  I figured it was probably Time Warner trying to sell me cable again, even though I've told them about a hundred times that I do not want cable and that I do not even own a TV.

After lunch was over and I'd gotten Isaac loaded in the back seat, I sat in my car and dug out my phone and looked at the number.  The area code was the one for the part of the state where I'd grown up, where my mother and my sister live.  I have a good friend who lives there, still, as well.  But I didn't recognize the number, not really.  You might remember that not too long ago, I'd deleted my mother's and sister's numbers from my phone.  Well, I thought it might be my sister's number but I wasn't sure.

I listened to the voice mail.  It was about 90 seconds of loud static.  I could not hear anyone talking at all.  Just scratchy noise.

I drove home.  I felt anxious.  I got in the house and got out my address book and looked up my sister's number.  Yep.  It was her number.

But no message.

I didn't know what to do.  I felt like I needed to do something.

I checked my email in case she'd tried to contact me that way.  She hadn't.

I thought about what she might have been calling for.  I didn't think she was calling just to chat.  She hasn't spoken to me in more than a year.  Really, the only reasons I could think of that she would call me were if something bad had happened.  Something she felt was so important that she thought I should know.  She'd call me if our mother died.  She'd call me if something happened to one of her children, although since they are all young and healthy, it would be more likely that something would happen to our mother.  She might call me if our father died, but I'm not sure about that.

Those are things she'd probably feel I should know about, but do I feel I need to know?  I guess I'd want to know if something happened to one of my nephews.  One of them is a Marine.  He is stationed in the States, he's not doing anything dangerous (as far as I know), but what if, say, he died in a plane crash or something?  Would I want to know?  Would I go to his funeral?  Yeah, I think I would.

Would I want to know if something happened to my mother?  I really don't know.  Would I go to her funeral?  I don't think so.  Would I mourn?  Well, I guess, in a way, but you know what?  I already have mourned her.  I've mourned her a lot.  But how do I feel about the thought of not knowing?  It's hard.  Hard to explain and hard to live with.

I thought about calling her back.  I emailed a friend for advice.  Then I called Mike and asked him what he thought.  I think I expected him to tell me to call her.  He'd always encouraged me to try to maintain a relationship with my mother and my sister, at least up until all that stuff that happened in November of 2012.  He seemed to respect my decision, and to agree with it, not to get in touch with them after that.  But it was their decision, really.  They un-friended me on Facebook, they chose not to call or email or anything while I was in the hospital or after I got out.  But anyway.  I think I expected Mike to tell me to call her back.

He didn't.  He said something like well, I could call her back if I wanted to, but if it was really important to her, she'd probably call again.

And he's probably right.

So I didn't call.  I had all this nervous energy.  I took Isaac for a long, brisk walk.  I washed the dishes and cleaned my kitchen.  I finished an article I'd been working on.  I took Isaac for another walk.  I paced around the house.

It's been two days.  She hasn't called back.

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