GENRE: Young Adult
The phone’s already rung six times. I know because I’m counting the rings—anything to keep me focused on something other than what I’m doing.
Seven. I take a deep breath, then attempt to blow it out long and slow, but it escapes in spurts and gasps.
Eight. At New Life Rehab Center we’re allowed one phone call a week, if we’ve earned enough points. I’d had enough points every week, but I hadn’t called home yet. Doug says I’m using a coping mechanism: avoidance. He thinks I’m avoiding the pain I’d feel by facing my family’s disappointment, their anger and judgments and resentment.
Doug is right, but he’s also wrong. I’m avoiding something, but not what he thinks. I haven’t called home yet because I couldn’t stand to hear their offering of support, their forgiveness, their faith in my ability to stay clean. Because I don’t deserve any of that.
But calling home is part of my recovery here, Doug says, and so he sits in his office listening while I call. My leg won’t quit bouncing up and down.
Nine. Ten. This is so typical of home it almost makes me laugh. With six other kids there, everyone waits for someone else to answer, until at last they all realize at the same moment that no one else is going to answer the phone, and everyone tries to answer it at once.
“Hello?” a breathless voice I don’t recognize answers.
“Uh, I must have the wrong number,” I say.