The aunts and uncles were chatting by a busy public swimming pool. Teenage
lifeguards were idly checking out hot members of the opposite sex, or talking.
It was another busy weekday at the pool, nothing seemingly out of the ordinary.
Until the 5-year-old boy went missing, and someone ran to tell the lifeguards.
In moments they sounded a horn to clear the pool. A small body remained,
floating upside down in the deep end of the wading pool. Several rushed out to
the little body simultaneously, and CPR was administered. It was too late.
The message was brief and to the point. “Mark, I have some news. The
barbeque this Saturday has been cancelled. Our nephew died, and the family is
pretty upset right now. ” Mark played the message again, and then quickly
called Lisa, a lesbian friend, back.
“I heard the news, and was about to call you about it.”
“Yeah, well, we are pretty upset about it, so it is cancelled.”
“I understand. Sorry about the bad news. I won’t keep you.”
“Yep, right now I’m dealing with a clogged drain. So…”
“Okay then, Lisa. Hang in there and I’ll talk to you later.”
It was yesterday that Mark had seen the front-page article about the death
of the 5-year-old. Then he got a phone call from his boyfriend Karl , who was
the boy’s great-uncle. There were four adults there, and no one apparently
saw the boy fall into the kiddie pool, face down, and drown. The blame game
on the message boards was in high gear. He left his own post, condolences
only, on the site.
Later, he had to make a call himself: to his former boyfriend, Karl.
There was no easy way to do it – but he felt he had to get it done.
“Hello, Karl. This is Mark. I’m sorry for the bad news about your
grand-nephew,” said Mark, gripping the phone with a trembling hand.
“Yes, thank you. We are devastated over it. I take it you know the
details…” And they went on discussing it for a while, before hanging up. Mark
sighed, sat back in the chair and rubbed his eyes, ruminating…
The weekend was here. It was Friday night, and work was out of the way.
But there would be no celebrating this weekend for Mark. Too many recent losses
and tragedies plagued his mind, and the loss of the five-year-old boy was one
more. He would have his beer and snack this evening; and probably go out and
socialize this weekend. But it would be with a heavy heart and sorrowful
conscience. No one is left unscathed by tragedy.
One thought on “The Phone Call by Mike Wilson”
I think what I like best about this story is how all the different communications methods contribute to it.. it’s called The Phone Call but there are voice mails and message boards and newspaper stories.. which all contributed to a feeling of overwhelming confusing and ungappy sharing of sorrow.