Life and chaos got the best of me yesterday, so I didn’t post—but I did do the task of the day, and I took a writer’s approach to it.
When I was in the fifth grade, my favorite teacher would start each class by making us write for 10 minutes. He’d give us a prompt, start an old kitchen timer, and we would scribble down as much as possible until it went off. So yesterday, I sat down at my computer, found a prompt via Google, and typed away for 10 minutes.
The prompt: The phone rings. You look at the caller ID and recognize the number from your childhood home. You pick up the phone and recognize the voice. It’s you when you were a kid.
And my super short story (a little nervous to share this as I have not edited it and I haven’t done creative writing in a while, but here goes):
My pocket was buzzing, and it wouldn’t stop. This must have been the fourth call that I’d gotten in the past 15 minutes, and I could tell the incessant vibrations from my backpack were bothering the people around me. We were an hour into the lecture, and I was that person who’d forgotten to turn on “do not disturb” mode. They have got to give up soon, I thought. But no. It kept buzzing.
“Are you going to get that?” A guy to the right of me leaned over with an urgent look on his face. It wasn’t really a question as much as it was a request.
“Uh, yeah. I’m so sorry. Could you watch my bag?” I reached into my backpack, the buzzing growing stronger as I unzipped more pockets. As I pulled my phone out and looked at the screen, I found myself dumbstruck by the number calling me: 703-548-7421. It made no sense; that number had been out of service for nearly seven years. That number was my old home-phone number, the landline from the house I grew up in, and the house I eventually left. And it was calling me.
I waited to answer until I’d gotten all the way outside, where my voice wouldn’t echo.
“Grace?” It sounded like a child, and oddly familiar.
“I’m sorry, who is this?”
“It’s Grace. Well, it’s you. And it’s 2007, and I need you to—”
“Grace who?” Was this some sort of prank? An advanced practical joke, maybe?
“Grace Allison Bahler. Our birthday is May 17th, 1997. We live in Beverly Hills and have a cat named Ginger. And a cool treehouse. And I really need you to listen, because Grandma is picking me up really soon.” I felt like someone was choking me, I suddenly couldn’t breathe.
“How old are you right now?”
“Wow! I’m 10. So, what, it’s…2018 where you are? I can’t wait to be 21. We’re probably so cool. Do you drink wine?”
“Okay seriously, who is this?” But even as I asked, I knew the answer. It was me. It was 2007 me, probably calling from my closet or something. The voice, the tone, it was undeniably me.
“I’m not trying to scare you, oh no. I’ve just got to tell you something.” She paused. “Coming, mom! Grandma is outside. I have to go.”
“But what were you—”
“I hid it in the mosaic box thing we gave Mom on Mother’s Day.” And with that, she was gone.
P.S. Today is now technically day 6 of my challenge, so stay tuned for a double post!