Do you ever watch those missing person shows where a man or woman just suddenly disappears?
No trace whatsoever and the family is left reeling in despair. Well, I do.
Those shows intrigue me…and scare me too - if I’m being honest.
Usually when the family members are interviewed – they always say things like:
Mary ALWAYS answered her cell phone. Always.
Mary NEVER would have left the children. Never.
Mary NEVER would have gone anywhere like that without calling us first. Never.
Mary ALWAYS called me every day before she went to bed. Always.
Those statements are true…which is why the family knows that something is usually wrong.
Something sinister has probably happened.
Humans are habit creatures. We take the same route home every day. We have a morning routine we rarely stray from. We have daily, weekly and sometimes hourly tasks we do without fail. We put our makeup on in a certain order. We go to bed a certain way watching a certain show.
If you’re like Rambo and I, we even have a certain we that we say I love you to each other.
It’s habit and routine and you can count on it.
What the hell am I getting at? Nothing, really. Other than I realized that it’s damn scary when you need someone and they aren’t there and routine and history tells you that they should be.
I’ve felt this so many times, it isn’t funny. When Rambo was over the road and I couldn’t reach him about the second or third time – panic set in – bad. Fear would take over and I’d imagine his semi in a ditch and him never coming home. If it went on for hours – I’d end up calling his boss.
Because the fact of the matter was, he ALWAYS picked up his phone in the semi. Always.
That never ended when Rambo went into prison work. It probably only intensified. Rambo emails me all day long for his entire shift. When I get to work – an email is already waiting for me. Always.
If he’s taking a prisoner to a hospital or to another prison – then he texts me at every stop to tell me how he’s doing and where he’s at.
In the 15 years that he has been in corrections – there have been a few days when I haven’t heard from him.
Panic like I’ve never known sets in then. After a certain amount of hours, I call the Lieutenant and ask where Sgt. Rambo is and the Lt. tells me which unit Rambo is on. Then he’ll say, “Do you want to talk to him?”
I say nope. I just needed to know he was okay. The Lt. just laughs…because he knows the terror I was feeling and he’s happy to have taken it away for me. He knows exactly why I called.
I have a point, I swear.
Last night for some reason, Watermelon was done with basketball practice and she called my phone, the home phone and Rambo’s phone and we didn’t answer. We were working out with the TV up way too loud. She called multiple times.
Finally, Banana realized my phone was ringing upstairs so she brought it down to me.
I saw that my mom had called.
I called her back.
My Dad answered.
My Dad does not answer phones or call anyone. Ever. It makes him too anxious.
I was caught off guard by his voice and for a second, I panicked that something had happened to my mom. I said, “Dad, did Mom call me?”
He went on to say that Watermelon called them because she couldn’t get a hold of us and that they tried themselves a lot of times to reach us.
He was borderline angry and on the edge of panic.
He was scared to death something had happened to us.
Because we ALWAYS answer our phones and we NEVER leave our kid stranded at the school.
It all got straightened out but afterwards I felt bad for my Dad. I haven’t talked to him in weeks or seen him though he’s only a mile away but behind the panic in his voice is the fact that he’d never recover if he lost me.
I matter to him. He worries about me. He wouldn’t panic if he didn’t give a damn.
He may never be able to say that out loud or voice those words in person…but I’m thankful that I can hear them behind the panic.
I think years ago, I probably just would have been defensive at his angry tone.
But now I see it wasn’t anger.
It was love.
It may have been in an odd container vs. how the rest of the world shows and talks about love –
but it was there just the same.
I needed to record that here so I can come back and
remember this in times when doubt of that love creeps in.