Jodi Hills

So this is who I am – a writer that paints, a painter that writes…

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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.


Forever Connected.

I hate that someone else has her phone number now. Our phone number. The phone number I memorized since I was five. Carried with me. Still do. I hate that they won’t take the time to memorize it (nobody does anymore.) No, they’ll just plug it into their cell phone’s memory and forget about it. It won’t be held in their hearts and brains like a safety net. It will just be one click of a button. It won’t be dialed. Written on papers. Given to friends. Friends’ parents. It won’t be given the reverence so deserved. Our sacred phone number. My mom’s phone number.

763-5809. That number was the reason I dared to attempt my first sleep-over at Cindy Lanigan’s house. The same number that told my mom to come and pick me up the minute it got dark (outside and/or in my imagination.) These were the numbers that erased miles and distance. Allowed me to go to college. To get a job. To quit that job and begin a life. To become. These were the numbers that allowed me to fall in love. Move to another country, and still have my mother within reach.

They weren’t just numbers. And to think of someone just casually dialing them now. Or not bothering to dial at all…

These numbers were birthdays and holidays. Meetings and come find me! These numbers were “I need you,” and “I love you,” and “I’m right here.” I guess if you know this, you can use these numbers. And that will be OK, good even. Use them in the same respectful way. Know that there was love in that connecting line. Real love in every number.

If you are lucky enough to now travel in that line, please be open, be kind, be there. She would like that. That’s who she was. I guess I’d like that too. I’m dialing right now. Forever connected.