It was Sunday—the day my sister Carol always calls. When I heard the long distance rings, I could hardly wait to catch up on all the news. “Just a sec,” I said, “while I put on my headset. I don’t want to get a headache from holding the phone on my shoulder.”
I leaned back on the couch and drew up the furry tiger print blanket—the one Carol had bought me last winter, for no other reason than she knows I like animal prints. We talked about the weather, our taxes, our aches and pains, and how long it takes to mail a letter from Toronto to Montreal. We discussed the addition my brother is putting on his home, the movie I had seen the night before, the book she is reading, and a friend’s ailing health. Carol described the floor plans for their new house and then read me a letter she had received from our cousin in England. An hour later we were still gabbing when the battery gave out on her phone and she had to ring me back.
“Modern technology,” she said. “Sometimes I wish we could go back to the old phones. Remember when we were teenagers and we had that party line?”
“How could I forget? I laughed. “Whatever we said to our boyfriends, everyone on the road knew the next day.” That recollection led to others and soon we were racing down memory lane, my favourite place to go with Carol.
“Remember how the boys used to throw burrs in our hair?”
“Remember when Terry fell through the ice and we thought he was going to drown?”
“Remember when Syl got married and we were her bridesmaids? We had to carry her train at the rehearsal and you pulled in one direction and I pulled in the other.”
“Yeah, she didn’t find that very funny, did she?”
We dragged up all the memories—each of us trying to come up with something new the other had forgotten—laughing about the funny things, groaning about the sad ones. As I listened to Carol talking, my mind wandered. I was imagining my life without the sound of her voice and I couldn’t bear the thought of it.
“Well it’s late and we’d better get to bed,” she said, but I kept talking. My time with her seemed more important than my early morning appointment the next day or the cost of the phone call. When I finally agreed to let her go, we said the most important thing of all: “I love you.”