This was a hard one to post. I had a bunch of commentary written to lede into today’s entry, but I think the piece stands for itself (and I can’t get my words together.) A regular reader wrote in with this one. She put a painfully eloquent voice to one of my deepest fears.
Thanks, mama, for this one too.
Last time we spoke, your phone call was a pleasant Saturday morning surprise. I rolled over, unwillingly, wondering who could be calling me at this hour (people know the weekends f are designated lazy days for me. I’m up by noon, but that's not guaranteed). I half opened one eye, saw those familiar numbers and before picking up, had to keep my heart from damn near beating out of my chest.
Our phone calls were often few and far between. I either flat out refused or tried to fight the urge to call you and you…well you, I just never heard from as much as I would have liked. But this time you told me you were calling because you were thinking of me and why hadn't I called? Was I not thinking of you too? (My thumping heart had officially broken through the barriers of my chest by then). I was away at a school then and we talked about you coming out to see me in New York… and the rest of the conversation I can't quite recollect. All I remember is the utter ecstatic-ness I felt from my head to my toes. When the conversation ended, I was a ball of complete bliss.
For the next few weeks or so, we did our usual song and dance. I would call you, you wouldn't pick up, I'd be upset because it took you a day or two to finally call me back. Then you'd call and all would be forgotten. I couldn't wait to be home again and have a conversation about us face to face.
It had been a few weeks since you or I had called one another. I remember the exact moment I thought of you, wanted to call you but pushed the idea away because I thought "If he wanted to speak to me, he would call." Then, "He must be busy…he is busy, I don't want to bother him". Finally, "I'll call him later. I'll call him tomorrow.”
It was an ordinary night in the dorms. The roomies and I were sitting around watching more re-runs of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, laughing at each episode like we had never seen it before. The phone rang. It was my sister. I answered with my usual greeting for her, "Hola Sonrisa!"
She answered with sobs on the other end.
Like that Saturday morning, I had to keep my heart from jumping out of my chest.
Hysterical sentences later, she tells me you passed away today. I couldn't hear what followed because my sobs and my pain drowned out everything else in the world.
"Why didn't I pick up the phone and just call him?" Then, and still now, I wonder.