It was our only safety net. We didn’t have the security of a cell phone. We memorized our home phone numbers, and carried with us the knowledge that in the unlikely event we missed the team bus on an away game for example, we could dial zero for the operator and she would place the call to our home, announce the collect call, asking our mothers “will you accept the charges?” The real security, I suppose, was knowing she always would.
Somehow I made it through my school days without making that call. Sure, there was the occasional mix-up. I sat alone in each of the school parking lots, waiting for the light blue Chevy Impala. And if she couldn’t come, there would be a sticky note on the main door of the school with instructions, like, — “Call Andria for a ride home.” I knew it was for me. We relied on our connections. Our human connections.
It’s hard to imagine now. We never leave home without our cell phones. How would we get anywhere? How would we get back? There is definitely an unmatched safety with the cell phone. But I may never feel as secure as I did back then. To count on someone like this is really pure magic. And it wasn’t just for rides. It was for everything. Secrets held. Emotions shared. Dreams dared. Confessions bared. Everything accepted without question — that was my mother.
The memories are sweet, but not without their own kind of pain. I will walk by a photograph and feel the squeezing of my heart. A glorious ache that I never want to end. “The charges of love,” I think, and smile. I take the bus, the plane, and travel this life. Secure in the knowledge that love will always come for me. And I may not be safe, but I will be saved.