Prose, poetry, fiction, and rambles from people with a bit too much time on their hands.

Home Phone

A few months ago, my parents disconnected their home phone line. When I dialed “Home” from my contact list after this had happened, I was informed by a pleasant robotic female voice that the number had been disconnected. I called my mom’s cell phone and she told me they had it disconnected because it cost too much money and it wasn’t all that necessary to keep. It all made a lot of sense.

I’ve never been much of a talker (or listener), so I almost never used the home phone growing up. I never liked answering it; I’d always try to pass it off to my mom or dad or brother when I had the misfortune of being the one closest to it when it rang. When I had to answer it or my parents made me, I would hesitantly press the green button on the phone and bring it to my ear and listen to the quiet buzzing static for a moment, then mumble a timid hello.

More recently, up until it was disconnected, the home phone was what I’d dial to check in with my parents. I’ve been in college and away from home for over two years now, so I have called the home phone quite a bit as compared to before. It was a little odd for me when I dialed Home and a cold automated voice picked up my call. Lately I’ve been thinking back on this. Somehow I’ve developed a small feeling of loss when I do. Today I discovered that I hadn’t deleted the contact “Home” from the contact list in my phone. Of course upon finding this I deleted it. It made a lot of sense.

It seems that the home phone really was a part of home for me. I didn’t feel all that attached to it, but now that it’s gone home is different. Now if I were to dial Home I would get a robot telling me Home is disconnected.

I’ve slowly been accepting that home isn’t what it used to be. Pets die, people move, furniture gets rearranged. But there’s something about “disconnecting” that bothers me. Nothing I could say to that robotic voice would get through to Home. What if I was suddenly “disconnected” from a friend? Second chances aren’t a guarantee. One moment everything is the same and your second chance waits for you to pick up that phone and the next moment it’s gone.

When those second chances are stripped from you, what can you do? Choke on all the words you should have said? Think on all those things you should or shouldn’t have cared about? Just accept it? Perhaps some people can live without second chances. Maybe they don’t believe in second chances; maybe every moment for them is all or nothing, every action a carving in stone. They are few and far between, but they’re more alive then the rest of us. They hold themselves accountable for every second they spend here and for them regret isn’t even an option. I’m not one of those people. They could even be fictional. Yet somehow I believe they’re out there. Somehow I think one of those people is hiding somewhere inside fogs of paranoia and false pride.

The key lies in these second chances we hold on to. Every opportunity should be a new one. Every second should hold a new way for your existence to leave a mark on your world and your life and those of others. You only feel these second chances creep into your conscience when your actions and thoughts lack their full integrity, when you water yourself down or just drown entirely.

The next time the phone rings, I might hesitate to answer. When I want to call someone, I might stop and think I could just do it later. It’s comfortable to live this way. And when the phone gets disconnected I’ll curse my luck and my choices and miss my second chances. But is that really living?

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