The timing could not have been more precise. My phone rang; a friend calling to deliver worrisome, though not disastrous, medical news about a mutual friend. “The warranties on our middle-aged bodies,” I remember thinking, “have well and truly run out. We are all starting to show our manufacturing defects, and there is no RMA available. It’s fix or toss, now.” And even as we talked through what this meant in the immediate term, an unfamiliar number with a 608 prefix rang me.
My cell phone number dates back to Boston, and the other number I maintain to New York City, so my personal daily cloud of no-see-em spam phone calls come to me from 617 and 917: any call from a 608 number I assume to be real. On top of that, I answer pretty much any call when I’m not physically around my kids. This was a no-brainer: I apologized to my friend and took the call.
I didn’t recognize the voice.
“This is your wife.” (It was not my wife.) “I’m with your wife.” (That made more sense.) “Piper’s been in an accident here on the bike path. I’m going to put your wife on the phone.” (A brief flapping and fumbling as the phone changed hands.) “It’s me,” Kate said, in a voice all focus and fear behind a tourniquet of concentration. “I need to you to pick up Syd and meet us at the Children’s Hospital. A biker hit Piper on the head. We’re calling 911 now. It’s bad.”
“Okay,” I said. “I’m on it.” I held the phone for a moment before asking, “Just how bad is it? What’s your read?” Nothing from Kate as an eternal few seconds fell echoing down a well, and then: “Just come.” Continue reading Openings and Closings