You Can Still Go Home

What’s in a number?

In the blink of an eye, month six becomes nine and summer is gone. You turn your head for a moment and your three year old is going into grade four. It seems like just yesterday that you fell in love with the guy you knew in high school, but somehow it’s going on five years.

Next month you’ll be 35, which makes your head spin. Numbers on the calendar whir past at an exponential rate and you find yourself grasping into space, wishing time would just slow down.

Luckily, for you, a constant has always been a large ranch house atop a country hill, a place where the sky stretches clear overhead, and the sun sails from jagged teeth of the Rockies into the waiting folds of the Purcell Mountains. Fisher Peak stands firm in the distance, a beacon that lets you know you are home.

You’ve always called the same number to talk to your parents, and they have always picked up. It was the first number you memorized as a child, and the number you tentatively gave to first boyfriends, then stood, twirling your fingers in the long white cord of the kitchen phone.

You called that number when you needed a ride home from your summer job, and when you were homesick, 400 kilometers away at university. It was the number you called to tell your parents you had met someone, who you later married. You called it to say you’d landed your first real job, when you bought your first home, and when the pregnancy test showed a faint blue line.

You dialed that number, crying on your own kitchen floor, in the dark early days of your divorce. That familiar number was your tie to home base. These days you mostly text your parents, but it’s still nice to hear their voices when you feel disjointed and too far from home.

When they told you yesterday that they were disconnecting their landline, your chest tightened. Your brain said it’s just a phone number, but your heart was reeling. You weren’t ready to let that number go.

Suddenly you felt an almost overwhelming need to go home. Life has been too busy and you’ve been away far too long. You yearned to see the people who have only ever tried their best for you, and to gaze at the stars, bright beyond belief without the interference of city lights.

Tears welled up when you considered how one day you may not have that beautiful place, where on countless occasions, a sea of blond grass brushed against your legs as you wandered aimlessly around the countryside. But then your mom announced that she got a new iPhone, which adopted their old number, and you exhaled a sigh of relief.

You can still call that number; it’s still your lifeline. You can still embrace the people who have always loved you, and you count your blessings because you can still go home.

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