We all know what it’s like to receive that phone call in the middle of the night. This nightly call was no different. While the phone was ringing, I focused groggily on the clear, green numbers of my bedside clock. It was 2 a.m. Panicky thoughts filled my half-asleep mind as I grabbed for the receiver.
“Mom, it’s me.” I could barely hear the raspy whisper and my thoughts turned immedicately to my son. When his voice broke, I knew he was in trouble. I shook my husband’s shoulder. But he was awake and listening in. “Can you speak louder?” I asked.
“No, and please don’t say anything till I’m done. You always talk. Listen. Before you ask. Yes, I took my pills and I have not been drinking but, I almost had a head-on collision with another car and …”
“Are you alright? Was anyone hurt?” I asked in a cracked voice, pressing my hand against my throbbing head, wondering, worrying.
“Mom, I didn’t want a policeman to come knocking at your front door again, so I’m calling.” My husband took the receiver from me. “David, Mom and I will come and get you but you have to tell us where you are.”
“THEY know where I am so you probably do too. You know that THEY broadcast my whereabouts. I can’t tell you much except that I might still come home. Is that okay?”
“Of course it is. You know that your mother and I will stand by you, always.”
I swallowed a huge lump in my throat and while I wondered whether we should say more, there was a click and the line went dead. My son’s paranoid schizophrenia had put us in this position on various occasions and i regard our telephones as crouching monsters; seldom the bearers of good tidings for us.
We got out of bed as sleep was now impossible. My husband came up from behind, wrapped his arms around me and rested his chin on the top of my head. I swiped away my tears, then pulled away from him and walked into our son’s bedroom. Imagine our surprise when we saw his sleeping form, safe and sound in his bed.
“Do you think that the young man on the telephone will ever know that he dialed the wrong number?” my husband asked me.
“Maybe it helped him to know that someone cared,” I whispered. “Maybe it was not a wrong number after all.”