Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: On the Telephone (11/18/10)
TITLE: If A Smile Had A Sound
By Donna Powers
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I was sitting on the couch with a cup of tea and a snack. The 10 o’clock news had just started. I was startled by the ring, but I answered it. “Hello?”
At first, there was no response. Then, “I… umm…”
“Hello?” I repeated.
The woman’s voice was soft and hesitant. “Yes, umm…hello. I’m looking for … is Carrie Morgan there?”
Oh, no. Not again. “Oh, sorry; no. Carrie doesn’t have this number anymore.”
There was another hesitation; then she asked, “Oh. She doesn’t?”
“No, sorry,” I responded. “But if it’s any comfort, I get these calls a lot. You’re not the only one who’s called to ask.”
“Oh. Well, I … ummm,” I could hear the disappointment in her voice as she mulled over my response. “Do you know Carrie? I mean: do you know where she is or know her new number?”
It wasn’t the first time I’d gotten that question, either. I told her, “I’m sorry. I have no idea. She must have been really popular, because I’ve been getting calls ever since I moved here. But I don’t know her – or where she is.”
“Oh. Oh. Okay. Well, Okay.” Her voice sounded immeasurably sad.
I don’t know what possessed me, but I felt like she needed someone to reach out to her. “Ma’am?”
“Yes?” she responded.
“Well, are you OK?” I asked. “You sound upset.” I couldn’t see her, but it sounded as though she was crying.
“Well, I guess I am, a bit.”
My heart went out to her. “Do you want to talk about it?”
She continued, “Oh… I …. I don’t know. You don’t know me, and ….”
“No – and I don’t know Carrie, either – but you sound like you need someone to talk to.
There was another brief silence before she said, “It’s just that … I don’t really know Carrie, either. But I want to.”
Now I was confused – and told her so.
“Sorry. I guess… I mean… look, I just… Carrie is my daughter.”
Her daughter? “Oh, wow.”
It sounded as though she was crying, again. “Well, you see… she doesn’t know me. I had her when I was a teenager and placed her with an adoption agency. I decided to find out about her and this is the last number they have; for where she lives. I don’t even know if she knows she’s adopted, but… I just want to find her.”
“Oh, wow, Ma’am. I’m sorry. I wish I could help.”
She replied, “Well, thanks. You’re really nice.”
“Thank you.” Well, I couldn’t leave her without hope – could I? “Look, I’m sorry I can’t help. You sound like a nice lady and I’m sorry you didn’t find her. Do you want to say a prayer together?”
This time, the hesitation was briefer. “Well, I don’t know… I guess.”
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Me? I’m Nancy,” she said.
“Nancy, I’m Anne. Let’s pray.” I reached out with my heart as I prayed with her. “Lord, be with Nancy. Help her feel Your presence as she looks for her daughter. Please help her find another way to get information she needs. And be with Carrie; wherever she is. Amen.”
The crying had stopped, even though the sadness remained in her voice. “Thank you so much. That’s … very nice. Well… I won’t take up any more of your time. I don’t know what I should do next, but I appreciate you trying to help.”
“I hope you find her, Nancy,” I told her.
“Me too,” she replied.
“God bless you,” I said. “And … call back if you need to talk, anytime. And - for what it’s worth -I hope the next time I hear from you it’s because you’ve found her.”
If a smile had a sound, it would sound like this. “Oh, that would be wonderful. God bless you, too.”
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