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#Goodbye #Beloved #Phone #Booth

There are seven of us. Five kids and my parents. I’m the youngest. The low man on the totem pole. I have no say in anything. For the most part, it’s not a problem. Until one day when I am 12.

Here’s the thing. We have one phone. It’s anchored on the downstairs hallway wall, off the one bathroom. One phone. One bathroom. Seven people. The hallway is a high-traffic area. Privacy? Hasn’t been invented yet.

The family phone on the downstairs wall in a high-traffic area. One phone. Seven people. Not good. 

One day the phone rings. Mom answers.

Paul? No, he isn’t here, she says.

I am standing no more than five feet away from her. It’s a small house. I am always standing no more than five feet away from anyone.

I don’t know where he is, she says.

I am looking right at her.

I don’t expect him home anytime soon, she says.

Again, right here Mom.

I hear a faint, optimistic, female voice through the phone asking if my mother would take a message. Fat chance.

Mom hangs up.

Who was that? I ask.

A girl, she says. And glares. At me. 

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