Trigger Warning * Violence * Language
It sounds stupid but I was more excited about the phone situation than if we had gotten running water. Which we hadn’t yet. We were still hauling in water, still carrying out the bucket toilet. Our yard was one hole after another of waste. In fact, if anyone ever dug under our trailer, they’d find the remains of another trailer, the victim of a house fire. We lived in a place where you buried what you didn’t want anymore — trash, waste, truth.
The phone was my connection to the outside world, and it led to what happened next.
On a chilly Saturday night, I got to go back to the radio station, this time with my friend Misty. That one win seemed to have earned me the chance to come back whenever I wanted to deejay.
“Hot 92.1! Request or dedication?” I said, answering the phone for what felt like the millionth time. It never stopped ringing.
“Yeah, I was wondering if you could get my song right this time. It’s Bad Medicine. You played something else,” the caller said, trying to sound stern but sounding more like he was flirting.
“I’m so sorry,” I laughed. I was having a great time, and so what if I messed up a few song requests. As long as I didn’t mix up the dedications we had scrawled on pieces of paper all over the table, there’d be no problem. And there was no danger of us doing that. We understood how important it was for Amanda’s dedication to reach Alex, and so on and so forth.
“Well, I want to dedicate a song this time,” he said.
“Ok.” I grabbed a pen, ready to write down the new song.
“We want Love Bites. It’s from Nate and Tim.”
“And who’s it to?” I asked.
I giggled. “No, really, who’s it to?”
“It’s really to you. We think you sound very sweet. How old are you?” he asked.
“Um, I’m not gonna say,” I said, though I wasn’t really afraid to.
“Oh come on,” he coaxed. “You can tell me.”
“You can’t keep the phone all tied up,” the deejay said, sitting up in his chair.
“I have to go,” I said. “We have more calls to take.” I paused. “I’m thirteen. Bye!”
As soon as I hung up, the phone rang again. It was a small town and we had little in the way of entertainment. Having direct access to our very own personal radio station helped pass long days of boredom. There wasn’t a teen around who hadn’t called in a request or dedication at least a dozen times. Half the time, none of us even knew what the songs were about beyond the title, but it was fun.
“Dude, we’ve got everything under control,” Misty said to the just-out-of-high-school deejay.
She answered the phone again as he left us to it. “It’s that guy,” she said, shoving the phone at me. “Talk to him for a while. I’m tired of hearing it ring.”
“Hey beautiful, it’s me again. Remember me?”
“Of course,” I laughed. “I may be blonde, but I’m not dumb.”
“So, since you’re thirteen, I’m calling back for my brother, Tim. He’s your age. I’m seventeen, just a little too old for you.”
I didn’t care. I was still dating Sean, but I was enjoying the attention.
“Hi,” said a new male voice.
“Hello? Who’s this?” I asked, baffled by the change in voices.
Tim was clearly a guy of few words.
“Um…are you going to talk to me?” I asked.
Silent moments passed.
“Ok, Tim doesn’t want to talk,” Nate said, taking over again. “He’s shy.”
“You’re not,” I pointed out, opening the door for us.
By the end of the conversation, I gave him my phone number. “It’s real,” I assured him.
Misty and I wound up staying all night, and we crashed when we got back to the trailer in the morning, so when the phone rang later, Misty didn’t budge.
“Hey, uh…it’s Tim. From last night. Hello?”
“I’m here. Hey,” I said. “Can you call back later? We didn’t get to sleep all night. Or I could call you back when we’re up. If you want.”
I wrote their number on my hand with the closest pen, and then promised to call back.
“Nate wants to know if you’re just brushing us off,” Tim said before we hung up.
“Seriously, I’m just tired. I’ll call back. I promise. I don’t break my promises. Tell him that.”
I put the phone back in the cradle without waiting for a reply and tossed the pen across the bed onto the broken vanity dresser. It was only nine in the morning, but no one was around. A perfect Sunday morning as far as I was concerned. I rolled over and went back to sleep.
About Angela Giles Klocke – I’m a Colorado-based speaker, writer, advocate, and princess! I am also a survivor of child abuse, sexual assault, domestic violence, and more. I would love to speak to your group, school, or organization. Catch my TEDx Colorado Springs Talk on abuse, violence, and talking about uncomfortable topics, coming soon. Contact me!