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The Phone Call
“Steph, can you come down here, please?” My mom’s voice echoed up the stairs.
“I’m coming,” I shouted back down. I took the steps two at a time. “What?” I asked her. She was sitting on the couch, legs crossed. My eyesight swept the room quickly, scanning for something I might have forgotten to do. I noticed Dad wasn’t in the room. “Where’s Dad?” I asked absent-mindedly.
“He’s with Grandma,” she answered.
“Okay? Is something wrong?”
“Sit down, Stephenie.” Oh, no, I thought to myself, this isn’t good. “Your dad and I should have told you sooner…” she started, but I cut her off.
“What should you have told me? What’s going on?”
“Let me finish and I’ll tell you.” I quieted down, but the anxiety was starting to overwhelm me. “Your grandmother went to the doctor’s about this time last year for a regular check-up. During her exam, they noticed a lump on her breast. The next week, she had a mammogram. They discovered she had breast cancer,”
“Is she okay?” My mom didn’t answer. “Mom, is she okay?”Anger tainted my voice. A sharp sting in my eyes caused the room to become blurry. “Your dad’s at her apartment.”
“Is there any time left?” I asked through sobs.
“The doctors said there’s less than three days.” Her arms suddenly wrapped around me. I leaned into her and just let the tears pour down my face. I felt her shirt become wet. I leaned up again, not wanting to ruin her shirt. “Can we please go see her?” I asked.
“I just have to tell your brother about your Grandma, and then we’ll go meet your Dad there.” She answered. “Why don’t you go get changed?”
“Okay.” I stood up and walked up the stairs rubbing my eyes, trying to stop the tears from falling.
As I was walking up the stairs, I heard my mom call, “Jonathan, come down here.” My brother came out his door, and started to run toward the steps. I flung my limp blonde hair in front of my face, so he couldn’t see my tears through the fair-haired curtain. He stopped, and asked me, “What did I do?” I looked at him, forgot to cover my face, and saw my hair float back into place. He gasped. “What happened to you?”
“Nothing, just go see Mom.” I continued up the stairs, and I saw him out of the corner of my eye, shrug, and bound down the stairs.
When I reached my room, I flung myself onto my bed. I shoved my face in my pillow, and cried as hard as I could. Why, God, why does she have to die? I thought furiously to myself. Childhood memories of her inviting scent of warm cookies, the constant kisses from her pale, wrinkled lips, and the tight hugs that squeezed the breath out of you were brought painfully into my mind. All the times that I had complained about going to her house, I immediately regretted. At least I had these last few days. Maybe she could come back from the cancer. Doctors were wrong before. They could be wrong now. I wiped my eyes, again, and went to my mirror. My hair was so tangled and knotted. I picked up my hairbrush started to attack my hair. I got so frustrated at one knot that just wouldn’t come out. I took my brush, and threw it as hard as I could at the mirror….
I awoke from my reverie. A small tear trickled down my face. I wiped it away with a furious motion of my hand. I watched helplessly as my grandmother’s casket was lowered into the cold, unfeeling ground. Jonathan pulled my arm backward. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s go.” I walked with him back to our family minivan. I listened to my high heels click against the road. My family rode back to our house in silence, all in our own thoughts.
When we finally go into our house, the phone rang. My brother was the first to reach it. “Steph, it’s for you.” I grabbed the phone.
“Who is it?” I mouthed to him. He shrugged his shoulders. I rolled my eyes. Thanks, you’ve been a terrific help. “Hello?”
“Hi, honey bell!” said a frail, old voice. There was only one person in the world that called me honey bell, my grandma.
“Who is this? This isn’t funny.” Tears started to fill my eyes.
“It’s me, Grandma.”
“But your dead, how could you be calling me?”
“In Heaven, sweetie, anything can happen.” She laughed her musical laughter that I remembered from when I was little.
“Why did you call me then?”
“Stephenie, I know you’ve been mad at God for a long time since I died, but you have to listen to me, I’m happy here, you know I love you. So, please let me go. I’ll see you again. Don’t worry. I have to go now. Goodbye, honey bell. I love you.” At this point, tears were pouring over my face.
“Goodbye Grandma,” I said. “Wait, what if I want to talk to you again?”
“Goodbye honey bell.” The line then went dead.
“Goodbye Grandma.” I whispered to the silence.
Arlington Heights, Illinois
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"Peace begins with a smile."-Mother Teresa
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“There is some good in this world, and it's worth fighting for.” -J.R.R. Tolkien
“I have found the paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love.” -Mother Teresa