We all know
what it's like to get that phone call in the
middle of the night.
call was no different. Jerking up to the
ringing summons, I
focused on the red illuminated numbers of my
filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the
pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed
my husband, who was
now turning to face my side of the bed.
could hardly hear the whisper over the static.
But my thoughts
immediately went to my daughter. When the
desperate sound of a young crying voice became
clearer on the line, I grabbed for my husband
and squeezed his wrist.
I know it's late, but don't...don't say
anything until I finish and before you ask,
yes, I've been drinking. I nearly ran off the
road a few miles back, and..."
I drew in a
sharp shallow breath, released my husband and
pressed my hand
against my forehead. Sleep still fogged my
mind, and I attempted to fight
back the panic. Something wasn't right.
"And I got
so scared. All I could think about was how it
would hurt you if a policeman came to your
door and said I'd been killed. I want... to
running away was wrong. I know you've been
worried sick. I should
have called you days ago, but I was
deep felt emotion flowed from the receiver and
poured into my heart.Immediately I pictured my
daughter's face in my mind and my fogged
senses seemed to
clear. "I think--"
let me finish! Please!" She pleaded, not so
much in anger but in desperation.
and I tried to think of what to say. Before I
could go on, she continued, "I'm pregnant,
Mama. I know I shouldn't be drinking
now...especially now, but
I'm scared, Mama. So scared!" The voice
broke again and I bit into my lip, feeling
my own eyes fill with moisture.
I looked at
my husband who sat silently mouthing, "Who is
it?" I shook my head
and when I didn't answer, he jumped up and
left the room, returning seconds later with
the portable phone held to his ear. She must
have heard the click in the line
because she continued, "Are you still
there? Please don't hang up on me! I need you.
the phone and stared at my husband, seeking
guidance. "I'm here, I
wouldn't hang up," I said.
I know I
should have told you, Mama. But when we talk,
you just keep telling me
what I should do. You read all those
pamphlets on how to talk about sex and all,
but all you do is talk. You don't
listen to me. You never let me tell you how I
It is as if
my feelings aren't important. Because you're
my mother, you think you
have all the answers. But sometimes I
don't need answers. I just want someone
the lump in my throat and stared at the
on my night stand. "I'm listening." I
back there on the road, after I got the car
under control, I started
thinking about the baby and taking care
of it. Then I saw this phone booth and
it was as if I could hear you
preaching about people shouldn't drink and
So I called
a taxi. I want to come home."
good, Honey," I said as relief filled my
chest. My husband came closer,
sat down beside me and laced his
fingers through mine. I knew from his touch
that he thought I
was doing and saying the right thing.
know, I think I can drive now."
snapped. My muscles stiffened, and I tightened
my clasp on my husbands hand. "Please, wait
for the taxi. Don't hang up on me till the
taxi gets there."
"I just want
to come home, Mama."
But do this for your mama. Wait for the taxi,
please." I listened to the
silence in fear. When I didn't hear her
answer, I bit into my lip and closed my eyes.
had to stop her from driving.
Only when I
heard someone in the background asking about a
Yellow Cab did I
feel my tension easing.
home, Mama." There was a click and the phone
the bed with tears forming in my eyes, I
walked into the hall and
went to stand in my sixteen-year-old
daughter's room. The dark silence hung thick.
My husband came up from behind, wrapped his
arms around me and rested his chin on the top
of my head. I wiped the tears from my cheeks.
"We have to
listen," I said.
me around to face him. "We'll learn. You'll
see." Then he took me into
his arms and I buried my hear into his
shoulder. I let him hold me for several
moments, then I pulled back and stared back at
the bed. He studied me for a second, then
asked, "Do you think she'll ever know she
dialed the wrong number?"
I looked at
our sleeping daughter, then back at him.
"Maybe it wasn't such a wrong
what are you doing?" The muffled young voice
came from under the covers.
over to my daughter, who now sat up staring
into the darkness.
practicing ," I answered.
what?" she mumbled and laid back on the
mattress, her eyes already closed
I whispered, and brushed a hand over her
I wrote your
name on a piece of paper, but by accident I
threw it away.
I wrote your name on my hand, but it washed
I wrote your name in the sand, but the waves
whispered it away.
I wrote your name in my heart, and forever it
the Lord- the pay isn't much but the
retirement is out of this world.*