Phone calls

The phone rings again, the dial tone echoing down my ear. I roll my eyes. She asked me to call her when I arrived on campus. I’m trying to call her. I hang up and try again. I get through on the fourth ring.

“Hello,” it’s my sister using her cheery voice she uses to answer the phone.

“Good morning,” I greet.

“Hi,” her voice changes from friendly and cheery to more relaxed, familiar.

“Where’s mom?” I ask.

“I don’t know,” she replies. “MOM!” She screams down the line.

I hear them exchanging words. “How are you?” She asks. It takes me a moment to realize she’s talking to me and not my mom outside in the garden. “Oh,” I say dumbly, “fine,” I check my head. I woke up with a headache, fell back asleep and woke up for good with the familiar dull ache all over. My neck tightened up despite the hot shower this morning.

“How are you this morning?” I ask.

“Uh,” she takes a moment, “wet. I got out of the shower to answer the phone.”

I hear noise in the background and my mom answers the phone. “Hello. How are you?” She asks, again inquiring about the state of my head. She was worried before I left this morning, worried about my head. I told her I was fine when I wasn’t.

“Fine,” I reply. The dull ache has quieted down, for now.

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