We all know what it's like to get that phone call in the middle of the night. This night's call was no different. Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock. Midnight. Panicky thoughts filled my sleep-dazed mind as I grabbed the receiver.
"Hello?" My heart pounded; I gripped the phone tighter and eyed my husband, who was now turning to face my side of the bed.
"Mama?" I 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.
"Mama, 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 come home. I know running away was wrong. I know you've been worried sick. I should have called you days ago, but I was afraid...afraid..."
Sobs of 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--"
"No! Please let me finish! Please!" She pleaded, not so much in anger but in desperation. I paused and 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. I feel so alone."
I clutched 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 feel. 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 to listen."
I swallowed the lump in my throat and stared at the how-to-talk- to-your-kids pamphlets scattered on my night stand. "I'm listening," I whispered.
"You know, 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 drive. So I called a taxi. I want to come home."
"That's 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.
"But you know, I think I can drive now."
"No!" I snapped. My muscles stiffened, and I tightened the clasp on my husband's hand. "Please, wait for the taxi. Don't hang up on me until the taxi gets there."
"I just want to come home, Mama."
"I know. 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. Somehow I had to stop her from driving.
"There's the taxi, now."
Only when I heard someone in the background asking about a Yellow Cab did I feel my tension easing.
"I'm coming home, Mama." There was a click and the phone went silent. Moving from the bed with tears forming in my eyes, I walked out into the hall and went to stand in my sixteen-year-old daughter's room. The dark silence hung thick. My husband came 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 learn to listen," I said.
He pulled me around to face him. "We'll learn. You'll see." Then he took me into his arms, and I buried my head in 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 number."
"Mom, Dad, what are you doing?" The muffled young voice came from under the covers. I walked over to my daughter, who now sat up staring into the darkness.
"We're practicing," I answered.
"Practicing what?" she mumbled and laid back on the mattress, her eyes already closed in slumber.
"Listening," I whispered, and brushed a hand over her cheek.
-------------------- "Cheating Hall Of Shame"-in honor of the dishonest. Every driver, owner and crew chief has a place in our Hall, which won't be moving to Daytona Beach anytime soon. Lone exception? Kyle Petty, who hasn't won a race since 1754. Posts: 545 | From: Pennsylvania | Registered: Dec 2004
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"What the hell do you mean 'I'm pregnant'?! You never called me and told me that! What the hell have I been doing, wasting my time telling you not to screw around and drink? You deserve it, you stupid brat! And don't think for one moment I'm going to take over raising that child for you because you don't know how to keep your damn knees together! You shoulda just kept driving than come home and give me this kind of grief! You're so lucky your father died two years ago, or he would've beaten the nfbsk out of you for this! The shame! The disgrace! What will the Father at church think? I have no daughter!!!"
"Mama, I'm a pregnant alcoholic. I pretended to hate you and ran away, but now that the odds are against me, I need help. This whole mess is your fault for not listening. I've already called a taxi and i'm coming home. Oh wait, I think I can drive now."
6 months later, little Timbob was born. He had a hairlip and was mentally handicapped, thanks to his mother's excessive drinking. "He's beautiful." she said, right before passing out from one too many Budweisers.
-------------------- Have you heard the Word? Praise Hircine! Posts: 283 | From: Ohio | Registered: Aug 2005
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The Red and the Green Stamps
I wish I could have rational conversations at midnight like this after I've been drinking and nearly drove off the road.
I either call to say: I hate YOU, you're a lucking foser or
I love you soooooo much honey bunny lips.
Cat (needs to stop drunken dialing) Juggler
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quote:Jerking up to the ringing summons, I focused on the red illuminated numbers of my clock.
Uh,oh...someone's been taking a creative writing course...
quote:Originally posted by Penny: I must admit, I didn't see the ending of this one coming. I'll give it that much credit.
Yeah, I thought the mom was going to turn out to be a ghost. Please...don't reveal the shocking twist ending of "Midnight Phone Call"!!!
Posts: 307 | From: California | Registered: Jan 2004
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Maybe Mom wasn't awake at all. I've apparently had entire conversations with friends that I don't remember because they called me in the middle of the night. Now I know better and I turn off the phone before going to bed.
-------------------- In an avalanche, no individual snowflake feels responsible. Posts: 402 | From: Ontario, Canada | Registered: Jul 2005
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quote:Originally posted by Brian O'blivion: Yeah, I thought the mom was going to turn out to be a ghost. Please...don't reveal the shocking twist ending of "Midnight Phone Call"!!!
I thought the daughter was going to be the ghost. "Mom, forgive me, I love you, blah blah blah."
Mom hangs up the phone, knock at the door... "Ma'am, your pregnant drunk daughter died in a car accident."
Or something to that effect.
-------------------- "Is it ME? Am I a MAGNET for these idiots?"~Pearl Forrester MST3K Die-Hard Engineers, Big Red One my Dad's website "Must be a 'snopes' thing..." ~my entire family when I try to explain something. Posts: 4524 | From: South of Madison, Wisconsin | Registered: May 2005
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