No one wanted to answer the phone. An ominous tone accompanied the hollow ring. One-two-three-four. Finally, my mother summoned up the courage to answer the phone before the answering machine picked it up.
I have never seen my mother look so pale or frail. Her lips moved but the sound that was supposed to be coming out was nonexistent. My older brother, Caden, and I were stunned into silence. Our eyes spoke volumes of the fear we were experiencing.
“Uh-huh…oSchmidt…all right…” My mother’s side of the conversation didn’t tell us anything. A couple seconds later she hung up the phone. It rested in its cradle glaring maliciously up at us with the evil sneer of just having given someone bad news. A deadly silence suffocated us. Then Caden and I found our tongues and pounced on her.
“What happened? What did they say?” We knew from some internal instinct that the “they” we were referring to was someone we cared about deeply. Then, the worst words ever to escape my mother’s mouth hung over us as she responded to our impatient questions.
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