Monday Dare: the number you have dialed…

Every Monday, I’m picking from the List of Things to Do, Places to Go, Possible Acts that Help and Possible Fun to Have. It’s a list I made beforeThe Project started, and I’m still adding to it. If you have suggestions, please feel free to throw them my way. I’m calling the list my Monday Dares, as I get overwhelmed just looking at the words “challenge” or “goal.”

This week: Move on.

I have two cell phones. Pimptastic? Not really.

I’ve had one of the cell phone numbers since moving to Los Angeles in 2002. The other? I got it after marrying Harv. No one calls me on the first number anymore, but I haven’t been able to give it up. I’ve been waiting for a phone call.

I saw my father for the last time in 2000. My parents were getting divorced, and I came home to help my mom pack and move to another state. The morning my parents signed the divorce papers, I helped my brother load up the last of the moving boxes into the moving van, hugged my dad, and told him that I would call him soon.

I wanted to tell him that just because I was helping my mom move, I wasn’t taking her side. I wasn’t taking anybody’s side. I still loved both of them. I still wanted both of them to love me. I didn’t say those things. I wish I had.

After my mom moved away, I left several messages for my dad in the following months, but he never called back. I rationalized. I reasoned. Maybe talking to me would remind him of his failed marriage. Maybe seeing me would make him sad.

After four years, I decided to reach out. I looked up his information on the internet. After searching through different white page databases, I finally found his phone number. I waited until 11:30 p.m. on a Thursday night to call him, hoping he still had the same work schedule, working the 2:00-11:00 shift from Sunday through Thursday.

He picked up on the third ring. I was relieved when he sounded happy to hear from me. I didn’t ask why he hadn’t returned any of my phone calls. I wanted to put the past behind us and move forward. During the half-hour-long phone conversation, we didn’t get into a deep discussion, but he asked if I was doing okay. I told him that I was fine. I told him that I missed him.

I offered my phone number. He accepted. He said he would call soon because too much time had passed, and he didn’t want us to be strangers.

“I would like that, Dad.”

Sometimes, a week or two will pass before I check my phone, permanently plugged into a corner of my bedroom.  I flip it open, hoping to see a message or even a missed call notification.

I’ve waited seven years for his phone call.

I’m disconnecting the number this week. It’s time to move on.
photo via

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