This I Believe

Brittany - Florence, Alabama
Entered on December 8, 2006

“Leave a Message, and I’ll Call You Back”

We were born seven months apart, and lived three houses apart, and yet we rarely were apart. Our friendship began as two freckle-faced little girls, who liked to make necklaces out of flowers, giggle at the boy next door, climb every tree on the block, and draw on the driveway with chalk. We could not get enough of one another. Of course there was the occasional disagreement or fit, but that was what made us so close—we never failed to say what we felt. While we were very different—she was meek and prissy, I was bossy and tomboyish—the innocence of our childhood brought us together.

She came to play on Saturday nights with her long hair wrapped up in rollers in preparation for Sunday morning church. I rarely thought much of it. One Saturday night she arrived without the rollers. I instantly knew something wasn’t right. She couldn’t hold it in for long. She quickly burst into tears. “My parents are getting a divorce and it’s all my fault,” she muttered through the sniffles. I tried with all my six year’s of knowledge to reassure her that nothing was her fault.

More years passed and Ally and I went separate paths. I rarely heard from her. One Saturday night, she called and left a message on my phone. “Hey, it’s me, Ally. I was just thinking about you. Call me back…if you get the chance.” I hadn’t spoken to her in months, if not years. I had called her several times, and not once had she called me back. What made her think that when she suddenly needed something, that I would be there? It was one of those calls that I simply did not want to return. After all, it was Saturday, and I was busy. Friends were waiting on me to go to the movies. But something inside of me told me to call her back. When I called Ally back, she wanted to meet with me right at that moment. “I need you,” she said.

Ally met me before I reached the door of Burger King. Without hesitation, she pulled up the sleeve of her shirt. Her wrist was bleeding. She had tried to commit suicide. I took her in my arms and walked her to my car. We sat and she told me everything, all the problems she was struggling with, that surfaced back to her childhood and her parents’ divorce. I was the only one who would understand, she said. We talked all night, not missing a beat. When we finally parted, she hugged me and told me that I had saved her life that night. She said if I had not returned her call, she probably would not have made it until the morning.

I believe in returning phone calls. Even those annoying, talk-your-ears-off, do-me-a-favor type calls. It just might save a life.