Friday, April 5, 2013

Telephone Free-Fall

She left a message on our answering machine: Sorry I missed you but maybe you’re not back yet from Mexico. Hope you’re having fun in Puerto Vallarta.

I thought to myself: Did I forget to go to Mexico like some folks forget to have children? Maybe I should hop a flight and look for a familiar face.

I tried calling her back but her voice mail was full. I figured she must have taken off for Mexico looking for me.

When she reached me she apologized saying she was thinking of somebody else who went to Hawaii.

I told her I couldn’t afford Mexico but I’d been drinking Margaritas to make up for it. I was glad not to have gone to Hawaii since I have a profound dislike of all things coconut.

She said she was sorry to hear about my allergy to peanuts.  I was also sorry to hear about it because I just had some peanut sauce with Chinese food. Was my body beginning to itch all over or was that a reaction from the coconuts I didn’t eat by not going to Hawaii? At least I didn't have jet lag.
I thanked her for saving me a visit to the dermatologist as well as an intestinal disorder from unwashed lettuce where I might have perished from dehydration in a Mexican emergency room, an unclaimed body with a tag on my toe.

We need friends like this in our declining years to check up on us as we brush up against creeping senility and other childhood diseases.

The phone is ringing again, this time from another friend who started telling me about the time he set fire to the shower curtains while his mother was taking a bath. He was seven and apparently a very curious boy. I didn’t ask when he was weaned from the breast. It was 1934 and times were hard. I’m sure this is not why he called but I forgave him for his trespasses. How we segued to this defining moment neither one of us can recall but that’s how life works.

The chronology turns to mush. And how I got to be eighty when just yesterday I was eleven can only be explained by missing the plane to Mexico because of the skin rash I didn’t get from not eating Chinese food in the bathtub with burned coconuts or was it caramelized walnuts?

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