This week’s word is:
- the action of being saved from sin, error, or evil
- the action of re/gaining possession of something in exchange for payment
(Heads up; this one’s a little darker than what I usually write. No graphic imagery or anything, it’s just not a happy story.)
I stare at my adopted dad’s number as it appears on my phone’s screen just above the answer and ignore buttons; a number that has transferred from phone to phone over the past decade but not a number that has ever shown up, or been summoned.
My finger hovers over the ignore button for several seconds, then floats to the side and finally drops upon the answer button; I take a deep breath before putting the phone to my ear and speaking, barely above a whisper, “Hello?”
“Oliver,” a female voice asks- of course it wouldn’t be him, I can’t imagine he would choose to break more than a decade of silence between us; “I’m Tracy, we’ve never met but I’m married to your father; he’s never told me why you two don’t talk but this is important and I think you deserve to know; your aunt, Jill, passed away a few nights ago.”
The news hits me like an electric fence, a sudden jolt in my heart that feels like I’ve been kicked square in the chest, my breath quavers and I pull the phone away to keep her from hearing; Jill, my mother’s sister, the only person who chose to keep in touch with me after… after 1996… the only connection I still had to my family, who sent me letters with updates on my sister – aunt Jill, the only one who didn’t see me as a monster, is gone.
I can hear Tracy talking quietly through the speaker and take a moment to compose myself before lifting the phone back to my ear, catching her mid-sentence; “-other and sister will be there, I think your brother too, I know there’s something between you all but I’m sure they would understand if you showed up, it’s special circumstances.”
“Thank you,” I say quietly, then clear my throat to keep my voice from cracking, to keep the welling tears from vocalizing, “but no, I won’t be attending; they’re suffering enough right now without me coming around… some people just don’t deserve redemption,” I pull the phone away and end the call before I break down entirely.