Monday, May 28, 2007

The call

I think everyone who lives far from home dreads it. The call comes at some strange hour early in the morning or late at night, and you're suddenly perfectly alert as you jump out of bed and run for the phone. You already know the only person it could be. Suddenly there's no need to calculate just what time it is all those time zones away, since it no longer matters. You know something is dreadfully wrong.

This morning, at 7:30 Paris time, I got the call. "Is everything okay?" I asked, knowing already what the answer would be. "No..." And all you can do is collapse in tears because you know that thousands of miles away, you're utterly powerless to do anything else.

At least with the rationalization of modern life, of hospitals and cell phones, you know that you not only can't, but you don't need to do anything. Right now, I know that experts are taking care of those people I care about, and honestly, my being there in Seattle right now would not change anything. The urgency is gone now, anyway; things are stable, and for the moment there's no need to worry.

All I can do is go through my day in Paris, knowing that in Seattle the people I care about should be long asleep. I hope that if they can't sleep, they remember that I, in my life far away, am somehow keeping vigil. My prayers and thoughts will be with them through the night.

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