I answer the call and stagger to my feet. Immediately I look for a private place so we can
talk. The phone becomes a holy relic that connects me to you. Please don’t cut out on me now!
“Hi, dear”, I try to sound nonchalant. “How are you?”
You are in the hospital. (of course) You have been on an IV for three days? You have a blood
“Is it MRSA?” I falter.
Yes, you got it from your dog? (what? I try to make sense of this) the dog has it too. His hair is
falling out and … whatever, You are not making a bit of sense. You complain about the nurses
and how they won’t let you do this and that… and then there is a whole bit about the boyfriend.
He’s telling the nurses all about you (paranoia). But you are at least safe for the moment. You are
being released in two days. Your Dad is going to pick you up and you will stay with him? Are
you really going to make a change?? It’s been five years of hell. Dear God, please let it be okay
You call me again three days later. You are in Daytona with your Dad. Hallelujah! He is clean
and sober too. You are on video, standing outside smoking a cigarette. OMG. You have never
looked this bad. Your face is covered with sores and you are skinny as a rail. You are eating
again and you will gain weight soon. You are going to get a job.
“Don’t push it, I say. “Get well, let your body heal. You need rest.” But I know you.
You call me every few days now. I am thrilled. You talk about your plans. I know what you want
even though you don’t say it. You should go into a program but I know you won’t. Some people
don’t have to, they can do it with support from family and loved ones, I tell myself. Are you
staying clean?? It is an agonizing cry in my mind, but I don’t say anything. I think I can tell from
your voice. You don’t call for a week and then you text a few lines. This is excruciating. You got
a job. You’re working 15 hours a day. Are you bartending? No, it’s a restaurant.
I can’t sleep. I am trying to hang on and trust. Finally, I break down and call your father. “Hi, I’m
sorry to bother you but I haven’t heard from her and I’m worried. Is she alright?”
“Sure, he says (is that farting? What a clod!) She’s working now and I work nights, so we don’t
see much of each other. I’ll tell her to call.”
You call later that day. Thank God! It’s so good to hear your voice. You are feeling fine but you
are going to be working long shifts next week and won’t be able to call much. Thanks for the
warning. You are a peach, true blue, I want to say, but I don’t. “I love you”, is all that comes out.
“Keep in touch with me!”
You are doing okay. I can feel it deep down now. I can sleep again. Why do I care so much
about you? You are not my daughter. Then why do I feel like you are? Because in my heart, you
are and always will be.
Vicki Smith is a new writer. For the last thirty years she has been involved in social services. She worked as a case manager in several rehabilitation programs and was the owner and operator of halfway houses. From her experiences she has gained a unique understanding of human behavior which enhances her writing. She writes from a Christian perspective, which offers hope to her readers and encouragement to the downhearted.