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Memory of a Phone Call
ME: (thinking) I remember when I was little, maybe five or six years old. I lived in Groton, Connecticut and I really missed all my friends. There really shouldn’t have been much to miss, actually, because all of the kids that had lived on our block and beyond — Tyler, Tyler, Tyler (Ty-Ty), Tyler’s little sister, Chelsea, Josh, Kyree, Stephanie, Stephanie’s brother, Kelly and Shannon Purple, and Jamie had all mostly moved. Before we moved too, Jamie and her family had moved to Hawaii, probably because her mother always said it was too cold in winter. So I wanted to call Jamie.
ME: (five years old) I want to call Jamie.
MOM: She moved.
ME: But I want to call her. I want to hear how she’s doing in Hawaii.
MOM: You can’t. Hawaii’s too far away.
ME: Then can I go and see her?
(Mom leaves. I go to a phone. I try to think about what a number in Hawaii would be like.)
ME: (thinking) I should try zero. My teacher said zero’s for when you don’t know where to call.
OPERATOR: Hello? How may I help you?
ME: Yeah. I’m looking for my friend Jamie.
OPERATOR: Do you know where she is?
OPERATOR: Do you know her mother or father’s first and last names?
ME: Yeah. She calls them mom and dad. But my mom said that it’s only for her to say that, so I can’t call them that. I have a first and last name though, you want to know? It’s—
OPERATOR: Do you have any specific information?
ME: What’s “specific” mean?
OPERATOR: Is your mother or father anywhere in the house?
OPERATOR: May I speak to them?
OPERATOR: May I ask why?
ME: She has no idea where Jamie is, either.
OPERATOR: I’m sorry, but I can’t give you any information on her whereabouts unless you know a little more than you do now.
ME: Okay. (hangs up)
ME: Mrs. DeMorro said that 911 is important, too. I should try that. Maybe it’s Hawaii.
POLICE OFFICER: Yes?
ME: Is this Jamie’s house?
POLICE OFFICER: Um…no. But if you need any help— (talks about police stuff)
(I try a few more numbers, but finally give up. Jamie’s house isn’t in any of the strings of numbers I think up.)
(The doorbell rings. Mom answers. I can’t see who’s there, so I go closer. Two police officers are there and behind them on the curb is a police car with lights.)
POLICE: We received a call from here. Is anything the matter?
ME: (After they talk for a while) I was trying to find Jamie’s house. But I didn’t find it.
POLICE: (Talks about some safety and tells me what 911’s for)
(Mom shuts the door. She is looking at me with an angry expression.)
MOM: Why’d you do that?
ME: I was trying to call—
MOM: Never do it again. Ever.
Colden, New York
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