Everyone has had one of those phone calls. The phone calls that have the shrill ring that pierce the air of the room and echo angrily in your stomach. You know you shouldn’t answer for the simple reason that you never get a phone call at this time. We all have schedules, certain habits, and itineraries for our days and phone calls tend to occur most frequently during specific times in these schedules. The schedule is supreme, not to be disturbed; and these phone calls blindly and defiantly protrude into your daily habits and announce their tragedies with cacophonous disregard. Everyone has had one of these phone calls. These phone calls can change a person drastically. These phone calls can be good, bad, uplifting, or devastating. I believe that, somehow, one’s life can change with the simple, sustained tone of a phone with someone on the other end.
Phone calls can be so unassuming. We take it for granted everyday; I do. I call family, friends, everyone when I have nothing else to do. The phone is somehow expected to ring, but when a particular phone call occurs, we know, subconsciously, that this one is different. Phone calls have that affect. They are not assuming in their normal and everyday use, but eventually, it is the harbinger, the messenger.
I received my phone call my sophomore year at college. This phone call had the unsettling and sickening ring that accompanies those that disturb the schedule and bear the grievances of others. I was at home for this phone call. I hadn’t quite woke up for the day, but I was moving around my house with the slow, clumsy stupor one has while making breakfast after a long night. I was in my basement, feeling the coarse carpet beneath my feet, the cold blast of air slithering from the vent above my bed. The phone rang.
It seemed fitting I was freezing and already experiencing cold chills when the phone rang. I answered with a groggy hello.
“Ev,” my mother. Her voice was already shaking, choking back thick, heavy sobs. “Dad…” I immediately collapsed to the floor into a terrible pile of sobbing mess. I buried my face into a cold blanket, heaving thick rivers of tears and mucus. My entire body shook from the cold and shock and fear. I couldn’t stop. I couldn’t escape deep enough into the blanket.
“No. Not him. Not my Dad.” Was the only thought my mind could afford to formulate and repeated it over and over. It swirled around my brain and collected in my eyes in thick, salty tears.
“…He’s had a heart attack.” She finished. Her sobs finally broke through her crumbling strength. It was as if my initial thought grew from a small statement of wishful thinking to a loud, obnoxious yell. “No. Not him,” continued to push every other thought away, silencing any question I wanted to ask my mother. “Where is he? What hospital?” I finally choked a sentence into the black plastic handset. “Norton’s,” came the uneasy reply, again punctuated with sharp intakes of breath and the thick sound of my mother fighting back more tears. “I’m on my way.”
It’s one of the most important inventions to revolutionize the way the world operates. A simple invention, one of communication, socialization, business, that has given society so much in every area of life. The telephone has become the bearer of bad news, the courier of good tidings, and everything in between. We search with the phone, inquire on the phone; make a living with the telephone. In the universal blink of an eye, it can completely and utterly devastate our entire world, or single-handedly lift us up above the drudgery of everyday.
I have learned from these phone calls. I believe in these phone calls. I have taken these events and applied them to my living each day. These phone calls have shaped my beliefs in such a way as to completely alter the way I live my life. With a simple phone call, and the exchange they imply, my life has been changed multiple times. I have learned to grieve with the death of my grandfather, learned to appreciate my family, and to find strength in others. With the pain and suffering of my father, I have learned to love him more deeply than I ever have and appreciate every moment I spend with him even now. I have learned to appreciate the silence of someone just being there and offering his or her comfort without the need to say anything at all. I have learned the true value of life and the fear that I have of losing someone dear to me. I have learned that my entire life could change in an instant with one phone call.
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