The Call Finally Came This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

Custom User Avatar
More by this author
BETH

The call finally came. It woke me up. I hadn't meant to fall asleep. After lunch I had gone upstairs to grab a sweater, but I got distracted. I saw the album on the bedside table, the one bound in brown leather, cracking with age. I sat down on the edge of my bed and opened the cover. I'd been scared and nervous for weeks. I had tried so hard to forget about Brigitte in the past ten years. Her passing had been the last straw for me. After dealing with the leukemia for eighteen years and then losing her.. It had been too much, I sunk into a depression. She was only 25. Her illness wasn't the only hardship though. Kate was pregnant with Caroline at only 19. Today was the first time in ten years that I had opened the album. It was March 27th. The anniversary of Brigitte's death, ten years ago today, a tear rolled down my cheek as I had opened the cover. Memories came flooding back. I remembered her smile, the brightness of her eyes, her lighthearted laugh. The constant flow of energy and positive emotions, her death had been horrible for everyone, and as it hit me in a devastating way, it hit Kate harder. She dealt with it in more courageous manner than I though, she took Brigitte's death in a face on method. She dealt with the grief a little each day, letting herself go for a few days and then getting back on her feet. She didn't fall apart as I did. I had fallen back on the bed while thinking that. It was too much. Both my babies. One dead, the other possibly sick. I let the pain of everything wash over me, it was overwhelming, I lay there for about ten minutes, tear after tear, each making a separate path of pain over my cheek down to my chin. Eventually it exhausted me to the point where my eyelids were too heavy, I let them slip closed and fell asleep. I woke up a half hour later to the sharp "RINGGGG!" of the telephone downstairs. The message machine picked up the call, no one else was home. As, I listened to it, I felt myself crumble. Kate had been diagnosed with leukemia. My heart pounded and my shoulders shuddered, how was I going to deal with this again? What if I lost her?

KATE
I walked in the door at a quarter past five and dropped my various bags in the corner of the room. I rolled back my shoulders and released a heavy sigh. It had been a long day at the office. As usual, I was exhausted. I had spent half the day an emotional mess missing my sister. I dropped my keys on the counter near to the key rack.. but not quite there, close enough, I had thought. I walked over to the answering machine and proceeded to press the flashing red button that indicated we had messages. “You’ve got messages.” the machine pronounced. Following it’s little announcement came a message from Caroline, she would be late for dinner, tennis practice was going to run late that night. Then a message from Kevin, reminding me to grab the mail for the Boyds next door. The one following that made my heart drop. It was from the hospital. The call finally came. I crumbled to the floor. I didn’t want to listen to it. The message came anyway though. “Hello Mrs. Smith, we regret to inform you that you have been diagnosed with Leukemia...” it went on. I couldn’t listen anymore. I unplugged the machine. I gave myself fifteen minutes to cry and turn into a nervous wreck. Then I had to pull myself together. I couldn’t be weak. I could pull through this, I would pull through this. I had to be courageous for my family’s well being and myself. I stood up, wiped the mascara from my cheeks and plugged the machine back in. Suddenly, I heard a loud crash and the distinct sound of a shatter from upstairs. Ma. How could I have forgotten? I raced up the stairs just in time to see she had thrown the old leather album at the window. She had obviously heard the message as well. I should have know she would not have handled this well. She was curled into a ball sobbing on the middle of her bed. I walked over and wrapped my arms around her, it was going to be a long evening.

CAROLINE

I hit harder, ran faster, and breathed heavier. This practice was key. I wanted it. I wanted it so bad. My heart pounded. Sweat beaded on my forehead. My chestnut colored, wavy hair bounced on my back in its long ponytail. This singles spot was the last varsity slot open. I needed to have it. Or so I thought. At that moment, it had been all that mattered to me. Practice was going to run late. I had figured that out at our first water break. Coach Barrett had said that we would be there until he decided who was the new singles player. I called to let Mom know that I would be late for dinner. No one picked up. I left a message and returned to the court. I had been working on my backhand all winter at the club. This was my chance to show Coach what I was really made of. At half past seven it was over. Coach had made a decision. It had been a hard decision between me and three other girls, we waited for him to tell us who had earned it. Instead of satisfying our angst with the answer, he merely dismissed us. I started to walk off the court towards my bag when he called me over. “Caroline, you have the determination, the mindset, and the strength for what it takes to have this spot, it’s yours. I was impressed with you today. However, in order for you to keep this, you are going to need to show me a higher level of effort and skill then you have ever shown before. Are you ready for that?” My obvious response was yes. My world was beautiful at that moment, everything was bright and beautiful. I grabbed my bike from the side of the courts, threw my tennis bag over my back and rode home. I walked in the door smiling ear to ear. The house was eerily quiet. Then I remembered what today was. The anniversary of Aunt Brigitte's death, ten years ago today. That had to be why the house was so quiet. I was in the kitchen, frozen, perplexed still, as to what the current situation was. Usually we ate a cake on this day to celebrate the wonderful life Aunt Brigitte had had, that is what her dying wish had been to us, to celebrate her wonderful life, not mourn it. She told us specifically what to do. Each year we did what she told us, although we weren’t thrilled to do so. It only reminded us how much we missed her. My dad walked into the kitchen and hugged me. “Dad?” I asked. There were a few tears on his face. “Caroline. The call finally came. Your mother has been diagnosed with Leukemia.” Oh my god. I had forgotten. The gravity of the situation hit me. Tennis was nothing compared to this. Why had I worried so much about that? It didn’t matter. I could lose my mom. The one person who I knew would always listen to me. About anything. I pushed my dad away and rushed up the stairs to my room. I slammed the door and locked it. I couldn’t cry. The tears wouldn’t come. I was too angry to be sad yet. What had we done to deserve this misfortune? We were all good people. We worked hard. Why was this happening? I sat up on my bed and glared at myself in the mirror. I didn’t know how to process this. I was almost in denial. It seemed surreal.

KEVIN

I walked in the door to the sound of sobbing. It was six o’clock exactly. Today was the day the test results were supposed to be reported. I ran a hand over my head, my hair was thinning, and I could feel my hairline receding as the stress of the day came over me. I could guess by the sobs that the call had finally come. The results must have been positive. I wanted to walk away from the house and never come back. I wanted to have this situation be different. I wanted my family to be happy forever, and my wife to be healthy. I walked upstairs to see Kate hugging her mother who was an absolute disaster. When I walked in, Kate looked up. I could see the fear in her eyes. She was not crying, but it was there. She was scared. She motioned me to leave, “Go get a pizza for dinner,” I nodded and walked out of Beth’s room. I placed an order at Louie’s pizza. It was seven o’clock now. I had to wait a half hour before I could leave. I needed something to wrap my mind around, so that I didn’t become caught up in the “what-ifs” of the situation. Life couldn’t stop. Kate would pull through. I pulled a book about the civil war off of the coffee table and began reading. At half past seven, Caroline walked through the door. I wrapped her in a hug. I had to tell her. She could sense the sadness in my face. “Dad?” she had asked me. “Caroline...” I began, emotion creeping into my voice. This was about to be the hardest upcoming year for us, all because the call that finally came.





Join the Discussion

This article has 6 comments. Post your own now!

words said...
Oct. 29, 2011 at 8:47 am
You certainly have a talent.  Persue it!!!
 
xcisthechiz said...
Oct. 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm
thank you (:
 
Friend said...
Oct. 27, 2011 at 2:54 pm

What a beautiful piece of writing.  It brought tears to my eyes.

Well don!

 
JAC cuz said...
Oct. 24, 2011 at 6:36 pm
oh my gosh this piece is amazing and it brought me to think what would this girl do without her mom what would the dad and the mother do. Knowing it ran it this family with aunt brigittes death from leukemia just made you think why why would this happen and what would they do.
 
an ant... said...
Oct. 24, 2011 at 6:36 am
I was blown away by your writing!  You moved me to tears!  Keep reading and writing...
 
voice from the past said...
Oct. 23, 2011 at 10:21 pm
Excellent.  Your sensitivity and abilbity to express yourself was top notch when you were 12 and it has gotten even better.   Loved it.
 
bRealTime banner ad on the left side
Site Feedback