Names Have Been Changed to Protect the Innocent…or Not-So-Innocent

An overdue phone call with a friend gave me a much-needed belly laugh today.  We talked about everything – from our crazy husbands to our narcissistic children, our bothersome jobs and our crazy families.  We talked about all of the chocolate that I’m going to eat – I mean make – for my daughter’s communion.  We talked about Mother’s Day and about being a mom.  We talked about our questionable choices in teenage boys and we fretted over our own daughters and their future choices.

What’s that saying about payback?  We may be in trouble.

In high school I dated a boy – we’ll call him Billy.  Billy embodied the classic bad boy imagebiker boots, leather jacket and a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his sleeve.  He lumbered when he walked with a toothpick in his mouth and a devious little sparkle in his eye.  His laugh was contagious and, somehow, he held on to that sweet, little boy glow.

Have I ever mentioned that I am a sucker for a hidden heart?  Well, now you know.

Shortly after stealing my heart, Billy was shipped off to a special place – a place for wayward boys not far from where I now call home.  The happenstance of life is funny sometimes.  He wrote to me on a regular basis.  I, of course, did the same.  And, on occasion, he would call.  We didn’t have cell phones, there was no caller ID and unlimited long distance calling seemed a wild and crazy notion.  Phones were planted squarely on the kitchen wall, the attached cord keeping you close by while you talked.  There were still people called ‘operators’ and they assisted with things called ‘collect calls.’  When Billy called, it was always collect and my mom always picked up the phone.

“I’m pretty sure Billy gave your mother a few gray hairs and then *Kevin took care of the rest,”  my girlfriend laughed.

Kevin (we’ll call him Kevin for the sake of this story) was the hidden heart that followed on the heels of Billy.  Kevin wore a denim jacket, his cigarettes stowed away in a pocket.  He was never shipped off to a special place and that devious sparkle was kept hidden away.

“Billy never gave my mother any gray hairs,” I laughed.  “Those were all from Kevin!”

“Billy was calling you collect from rehab,” my girlfriend said incredulously “and that didn’t give your mother gray hair?”

“I know,” the laughter came hard as I recalled, “and she would yell for me, saying ‘Sweetie, it’s Billy.  Do you want to talk to him?  Should I accept the charges?”

We laughed at the ridiculousness of it all and when we were through, we decided to hold firm in the belief that our own girls are much too smart for such things.  Of course, if they’re not, they’ll be happy to know that they have mothers who certainly are.  How lucky are they?


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