“Phone Call” by Varvara

      Phone Call

It was like any other day when I got the phone call. It’s a call you do not want to get, not in your youth, your middle ages or when you are barely walking due to your old age. But no, this is not a story about an old man who got a mysterious phone call. It’s about a seventeen year old boy named Kyle, who heard the worst thing a teenager his age could imagine hearing through a phone call.

The day was Tuesday when our telephone rang. I picked up the phone instantly recognized the voice of the man on the other end,

“Hello son.” It was my father.

I haven’t talked to my dad in over seven years, when he left me, my sister and my mom for a younger woman and a job in New York City. It was one of the most devastating days in my life, for two reasons. One, because, well, my dad left and two, because of my dad leaving I was having a lot of mixed feelings. Because of those feelings I got distracted, which made me lose our football game that could’ve led us to states, and that made me angry. My whole football team blamed me, so I quit the team and haven’t played many sports after that.

“Well aren’t you going to answer me?” My father asked.

“You have no right to call me your son.” I spat at him, not giving a fly if I hurt his feelings, if he even has any.

“Kyle I’m…”

“Don’t. Just don’t. It’s no use; it won’t undo what has been done.” I said, cutting him off. I wanted so badly to just scream at him, like I had practiced all those years in front of my mirror. I had a whole five minutes of things to say to him. I knew that because I timed myself once. But when I heard his voice all the anger and sadness just covered me like my own little blanket, and I forgot all those things I wanted to say to him, which made me even angrier.

“Kyle please, please don’t be angry with me. I can’t stand it when you are like this.” He pleaded.

“How can even say that? You haven’t been in my life for over seven years, how can you know, or like anything about me?”

“I have something to tell you Kyle. But I need you to be strong for me okay?”

Fear closed over me, I was afraid of what he was going to say.

“It’s your mother Kyle. She has been in a terrible accident, she didn’t make it Kyle. I’m sorry.”

I wanted to scream at him, tell him that it wasn’t true, that I didn’t believe him. But nothing came out, my throat closed in, I choked.

“Kyle? Kyle are you there?” My father asked, worried.

“No, please no.” I had no idea what I was saying anymore. All that was going through my head was the sound of my mother’s happy laugh and the way she would decorate mine and Sam’s pancakes every morning. This morning my pancake was a cat, with strawberries as its ears. She would always make strawberries a feature because she knew I loved them.

“She can’t be gone, she can’t!” I sobbed.

“Don’t worry me and Jamie will fly in today at 7o’clock to do everything. You’ll be just fine Kyle. I’ll take care of you. But stay strong, for both you and Sam.”

I was still in so much shock that I forgot about Sam. How was I going to tell her? How do you tell a twelve year old that her mother has died?

I heard the front door open, “Kyle I’m home!” It was Sam. I panicked and dropped the phone.

“Kyle you okay?” Oops! I forgot that dad was still on the phone.

I have to get rid of him I thought. I can’t tell Sam about mom when I have dad on the phone. It would be awkward. But if I told him I had to go because Sam was home he would want to talk to her and tell her about mom. But Sam and I have stuck together through a lot, and I think that I should be the one to tell Sam,

“I have to go.” I said quickly, “I uh, have something to do,” and hung up.

I set the phone down and went to find Sam. As I was making my way to the kitchen I saw her backpack on the floor by my mom’s chair. It felt too empty sitting there by itself. I heard Sam humming one of her favorite country songs and the thud of the refrigerator.

Maybe I should let her eat first, I thought. Who knows the next time she will eat again. No, stop stalling, go tell her. Forcing myself into the kitchen I sat on one of the four barstools, folded my hands and looked Sam into her eyes,

“What’s on your mind bro? Because your look is kind of scaring the bricks out of me.” She probed.

“Sam, it’s about mom, she…” Before I could finish Sam cut in,

“Oh yeah, where is mom? I need her to sign a permission slip for the field trip my class is having next week. We’re going to go to Washington D.C! It’s going to be epic!”

“Mom is dead Sam.” I said quickly. Way to break the worst news ever Kyle, I told myself.

Sam’s sandwich dropped to the floor. She stared blankly at me and a tear rolled down her cheek,

“No, she can’t be, you’re lying. Kyle stop lying!” She screamed, “Don’t lie to me like this!”

I walked over to her and hugged her, “I’m sorry Sam. I’m so sorry.” Tears started coming down my face.

What are we going to do now? I thought. Mom was everything to us. There was no one else that understood us more than her. I got worried, but kept a strong face for Sam.

As soon as I calmed Sam down and got her to go take a nap, I went to my room and laid down myself. Maybe if I go to sleep and wake up this will all be a dream and mom will be fine, I thought. But every time I close my eyes I see mom’s beautiful smile and hear her cheerful laugh, which made me tear up even more. And this went on for two hours before I finally fell asleep.

I dreamt that Sam, mom and I were on last year’s family vacation in The Hamptons that Grandpa paid for. Mom was sitting on the porch of the beach house under the shade, drinking an iced tea with a red straw, and Sam and I were building a sand castle under the sun. It was sunny that day, and the ocean was calmer than usual. I thought of how life couldn’t get any better. That’s when my dream turned into a nightmare. What I saw wasn’t a film, it was more of flashback. Mom was driving on our silver Prius when a dark, ugly man drove headfirst into mom in his old, rusted, red pick-up truck.

I woke up panting. That was horrible I thought. But as soon as I said that to myself reality hit me, “Mom.” I whispered. This was way worse than that nightmare. My life was a nightmare.

“Can I come in?”

I looked at my door and saw Sam standing there. She looked horrible. Her eyes were red, her hair looked like she hadn’t made it in days, and sadness took over her face,

“How long have you been standing there?” I asked.

“Long enough.” She replied emotionlessly.

I sat there like an idiot, not knowing what to do or say. So I patted my bed and scooted over to the other side. Sam awkwardly walked over and sat down,

“What do we do now Kyle?” she asked.

“I don’t know yet, but dad called. Supposedly he’s going to come here and ‘take care of us’.”

“Do you trust him?”

“No. But he’s all we got Sam. So I guess we’ll just have to learn how to.”

Sam nodded. Then she looked at me, then back at her hands, “Kyle…” She paused, “Do you think she’s in a better place?”

I got up and sat next to Sam. Then I hugged her and softly said, “Yes I really do. And she is looking down at us right this minute. So to please her we have to stay strong and never give up on life even when it can be unfair, okay Sammy?”

She smiled and nodded again, “Okay.”

As the taxi cab pulled in I watched a familiar and yet an unfamiliar man get out. Then he ran to the other side of the cab and helped a pretty, blonde, pregnant lady get out.

Watching the strange man and woman walk towards our house I panicked, from the shock of everything that was going on. Clenching my stomach I walked away from the door and hoped that I was just imagining the two people who were just about to walk through our front door. But as soon as I saw Sam walking downstairs I let go of my stomach and smiled at her.

“Was that him that just pulled up?” She asked, obviously feeling the same way I was.

“Yeah, it is. Are you okay?” I asked, concerned.

“No, but I’ll be fine. I just feel like this is just all a bad dream and that I’ll wake up any moment. I’m actually kind of hoping to wake up before seeing…dad.”

I understood that pause she made before saying dad. Because I make that pause every time someone asks me about him. I feel like I shouldn’t call him that, he doesn’t deserve to be called that. But mom doesn’t like it when I call him by his first name, so I just call him dad to please my mom. But it doesn’t mean a dang thing. For me it’s just an empty word with no meaning at all, and that’s exactly what my dad is, meaningless.

“Knock knock!” both me and Sam turned to a smiling man standing at our front door, “Wow! Look at you two, so big already! Come here and give your father a hug.”

“You’re not my father.” Sam said before she turned around and ran back upstairs. I awkwardly stood there. Not sure whether to follow Sam and see if she was okay, or help dad get settled,

“Go see if she’s okay.” Dad told me. I scoffed,

“You’ve only been here ten minutes and already telling us what to do.”

With that I ran upstairs and quietly walked into Sam’s room ready to give her my ‘everything is going to be okay and lets be nice to dad’ speech when I saw that she wasn’t even in the room,


“I’m in here.” Then a loud sniffle came from mom’s room, “and Kyle, you don’t have to give me the big speech about how everything is going to be all right. Because I already know that nothing is going to be alright. Mom is dead, our so called dad is back, and now we’re going to have to move and leave our friends and everyone we know here. I can’t do this Kyle. I can’t pretend that everything is fine and act like I am not pissed at dad and that I love him like a normal daughter should.”

I stood there speechless, and without thinking I said, “Then I guess you aren’t normal huh?”

At first we just both stood there and then, at the same time, burst out laughing. It felt good to hear her laugh, “I guess I’m not.” Sam said, interrupting my train of thought. After another five minutes of good laughter and stupid jokes dad came in,

“What am I missing out on over here?”

Sam’s face went from fun and joking to mad and serious, “I don’t know, about uh, seven years, right Kyle? Because I stopped counting the days until you’d come back.” With that she walked out of the room, right passed dad.

“She’s never going to forgive me is she?” dad asked, as he turned to look at Sam slamming her bedroom door. I shrugged and went downstairs to get a glass of water.


It was morning and I woke up to a tear soaked pillow and I realized that I was sleeping in mom’s bedroom. I couldn’t fall asleep in my bed for some stupid reason. I kept thinking about mom and Sam. The only two people I really cared about in this miserable, messed up world of ours. I got up and walked to my room. Took my Kiss concert shirt off and threw it on the floor beside my bed. But after realizing that mom always picked up my dirty clothes I frowned and picked it up myself and put it in my laundry basket. Walking over to the basket of clean clothes in the corner of my room I saw that it was 11:43 a.m.

“Oh no!” I screamed and grabbing a random shirt from the basket I ran downstairs, “School!” I yelled, “We’re late for school!”

Before I reached the bottom of the stairs I saw Jamie standing there,

“Good morning Kyle.”

“Can’t talk! Have to go to school!” I quickly said.

“No you do not. The principal called this morning and said that it would be better for both you and Sam to take two weeks off. So go get dressed more properly and have some breakfast with your family.”

“My family is still sleeping.” I mumbled before turning around and walking back upstairs, not caring if Jamie heard or not. Because I barely knew Jamie and she was already calling herself my family. She was the one who tore this family apart, so I will never call her my family. To me, she was no one.

As I came back downstairs an hour later I saw that the kitchen was all cleaned up and Dad was sitting at the table with his laptop,

“You missed breakfast.”

“Well it’s not like the kitchen was going to go anywhere.” I replied.

Dad gave me a dirty look, “I expected this from Sam, but not from you Kyle. Jamie told me what you told her. Do you mind explaining that?”

I walked passed dad and towards the refrigerator, ignoring dad’s question. As I opened the door a cold breeze escaped the fridge and the smell of mom’s leftover lasagna from Tuesday swept over me. That transported me to the night she made it.

We were sitting at the table eating; I was on my third piece and was still craving for more,

“Geez Kyle, I’m glad you like my lasagna that much but slow down!” Mom said smiling.

I laughed, “Sorry, but it’s been a rough day and you know that this is my favorite meal.”

“Kyle!” I blinked and the scene of our happy lasagna dinner disappeared and I was back in the kitchen with dad, “I asked you a question.”

“Well I don’t have an answer.” I said blankly. I didn’t feel like having another fight about family. So I grabbed what was left over of the lasagna and quickly walked out, ignoring whatever dad was yapping to me about,

“Is he in there?”

I jumped as I saw Sam sitting on the bottom stair looking up at me, “Sorry.” She said realizing that she scared me so bad that I almost dropped the plate.

“It’s okay, and yeah he is.” I looked down at the plate in my hand, “Want some?” Sam nodded. So I sat down next to her and we quietly ate the last two pieces of mom’s famous Tuesday lasagna.

A year later…

Walking out of Bronx Haven High School for the last time of my life I smiled, because I knew mom was looking down at me with pride in her eyes. The pride was for all the things I had accomplished ever since she died. After me and Sam moved to New York with Dad and Jamie I went to school and got a part time job as a paralegal for the Sullivan and Cromwell Law Firm. That job has been bringing in a lot of money, enough for me to finally get own apartment for both me and Sam. Sam couldn’t wait to get out of Dad’s place because they still haven’t made up, and Sam still hasn’t forgiven him. So it was hard for her to live there with him, especially since Jamie had her baby girl, Susan, named after my mom.

As I got home from school I went into the kitchen to check if anyone had checked the mail yet, I was expecting my paycheck,

“Welcome home Kyle.” I turned to see Jamie standing in the doorway with Susan in her arms,

“Thanks you. Where’s the mail? I’m expecting something.” I asked politely.

“It should be on the counter, by the fridge. Oh and I wanted to be the first one to congratulate you on you graduating High School. And since your Dad couldn’t be here because of his business trip, this is from both of us.” She said, handing me a baby blue envelope with a red ribbon tied around it.

I slowly walked towards her and said, “What is it?” Jamie just smiled and gave me the envelope. I cautiously opened it up and took out a check written out to me for $50,000.

“Your dad has been saving it up for you since he moved out here. I hope it’s enough for you to go to college.”

“I don’t know what to say.” I said, astonished.

“Just say thank you and go enjoy your adult life.” She smiled then added, “And Kyle, I’m really glad that you have been treating me like I’m part of your family. It’s a blessing for me to get to know you before you go out there in the world and live your life. Good luck with everything.” She put Susan down and hugged me,

“Thank you so much.” I said, and hugged her back.

As soon as Sam got home from school I grabbed her and we secretly went apartment shopping. We told Jamie that we were going out to celebrate and maybe after that we’d go out and shop for prom. When we walked into the first apartment that seemed to reach our standards I took out the check that Jamie gave me and showed it to Sam.

She laughed, “What, are they trying to buy your love or something?”

I laughed back at her and replied, “I don’t know. But it’s kind of working.”

We laughed and joked a little bit longer while checking out the apartment,

“I like it. It has a nice view, great living space, and a room for each of us plus a guest room. It’s perfect!” Sam exclaimed.

“Yeah and the rent is reasonable. I think it’ll do.” I said, also very excited. I couldn’t wait to finally get my own place, “It’s settled then, this is our new home.” And I signed the contract that the realtor gave me.

A week later, Sam and I moved into our new place. It was a perfect place to make new memories and start a new life. The End.

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