Thursday, January 09, 2014

For Better or Worse

When David gets home tonight I'm going to hug him...and then punch him. 

My wake up alarm, which is set to the soothing tune of Canon in D, was replaced by a pocket-dialed phone call from him at 0600. 

He's been in Jackson, Mississppi this week and mentioned a few times that his hotel is in a rather seedy part of town. Last night we were on the phone as he pulled in for the night, and there were police cars surrounding the hotel next to his. 


That's not unsettling. At all.

When his call came through this morning, the display from my phone lit up the whole room. I don't wear my contacts to bed, so I had to hold it about 2 inches from my face to see who in their non-right mind was calling me at that hour. 

At first I thought it was one of my friends with a question before school. If so, they were about to witness one of my dark sides. Early-morning-Kristen. She's not pretty folks, and she's not nice. 

I made out his name and was a bit relieved. No need to pretend to be chipper when I answered. He's been waking up to ugly-early-morning-Kristen for 15 years. {Ok, so it doesn't even have to be early. Basically anytime-of-the-morning-Kristen is not someone you want to come into contact with.}

"Hello," I croaked out in a gruff whisper trying not to disturb the little fella next to me. Who, even after I declared, "Everyone is sleeping in their own bed tonight!" was able to make me reverse my decision with a flash of his sad little eyes. 

There was a few second delay on the other end of the line and then I heard POW! POW! 

"What's happening?" I said, starting to wake up a bit. 


"What's happening?!" I said louder, starting to panic. At this point my heartbeat was coming faster and I propped myself up on one elbow. 

Most of us have been pocket-dialed at some point and are usually tipped off by the familiar rustling sound from, well, their pocket. Or purse. Or wherever their phone is at the time. This sound was neither familiar, nor a rustle. 

Only a few seconds passed until the 3rd and final set--POW! POW! But it absolutely felt like minutes. All sorts of horrible thoughts began flooding my mind. 

Those are gunshots!

This is our last phone call.. He's called to say good-bye.

He's lying in the parking lot of his hotel and the thugs from last night are shooting at him. 

The police will probably question me. How many gunshots have there been? 4? 6? 

I feel bad that I answered the phone exasperated, and for the 15 years of ugly early-morning-Kristen he's had to endure. 

And I feel bad that I always joke about getting the best nights' sleep when he travels. 

And then the line disconnected. 

I frantically called him back and it went straight to voicemail. I called again and it rang. And rang. And rang. 

I don't know how I thought he'd answer if he was, in fact, lying in the parking lot, suffering from multiple gunshot wounds. 
But that didn't stop me from calling. 

Finally, on the 4th try, he answered, sounding confused. Not exasperated or cranky. 

I don't even remember what I said but I'm sure it all came gushing out at once. Something along the lines of, "Are you ok? I heard gunshots! Why didn't you answer your phone? Why are you laughing?!" 

Yes, he got a kick out of the whole scenario. He thought I dreamed it and insisted he hadn't called me, he was not the target of gun-wielding hoodlums, and he wasn't caught in a crossfire of gang-related activity. 


He had simply come down the elevator to check out of his hotel and head to the airport. 

My heart started returning to normal rhythm once again, we exchanged "I love you's" and hung up. 

My head collapsed back onto my pillow and a sleepy little voice beside me said, "Who got shot?" 

"Oh, that was Daddy."

"Daddy got shot?" He asked a little more concerned. 

"No! No, he didn't get shot. We don't know what the sound was, but he's good and he's heading home. What do you want for breakfast?" 

I wearily got up and went across the hall to wake Reese. Who, of course, heard the whole exchange as well, and was already wide awake. 

She had figured out there was nothing to worry about by this point, and the explanation she'd formed in her mind was that he must have been watching a violent movie. Because who doesn't enjoy a good shoot-em-up movie to start their day? 

I texted David this screenshot from my phone just to prove that I hadn't dreamed the whole thing. And I simply wrote, "There's the call that gave me a heart attack." 
So, yes, when he gets home I'm going to hug him, then punch him, then purchase him a bulletproof vest for my own peace of mind when he travels. 

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