My best friend had to go back to our hometown this weekend to attend a funeral. She's staying at home, with her parents.
I wanted to check on her and her family, once I knew the funeral was over. I'd called her a couple of times, on her cell, but she always sets it on vibrate. Which would be fine if it was in her pocket, but not so good when it's in her purse.
It was natural for me to dial her parent's phone number. I did it from memory, and as I punched it in, I smiled to myself. I found it reassuring that some things in life are constant...as their number hasn't changed since the day Jenny first gave it to me 31 years ago. It was even better when her Dad answered, and after he finally heard me talking (he must've said "Hello?" about five times--before I got up the gumption to speak loudly and we got on the same page).
Here I am, 39 years old, and I still couldn't call him by his first name. He was my high school biology teacher to boot, so old habits die hard, I guess. "Hi, Mr. H," I said, smiling. "You want to talk to Jennifer?" he asked. "Yes, please."
As he bellowed, "Jennifer! Phone's for you!" the surreal aspect of the whole thing hit me kind of hard. I mean, it was like I was 11 years old again, calling her to talk about our latest crush. (It reminded me of that scene, in "Peggy Sue Got Married" when Kathleen Turner picks up the phone in her house and her grandma is on the other side.) I thought Jen picked up the other phone, and I felt my eyes well up as I realized it was her Mom. It was so good to hear her parents' voices, and I shouldn't have been surprised that I was feeling a little emotional because of it.
Jen said everyone was fine, that the funeral was well attended, and she saw a lot of relatives she had not seen in a long time.
And then we started talking about our latest crushes.