Sunday, October 20, 2013


I had just taken dinner out of the oven when the phone rang.

The name and number on the caller id was not one I recognized.  I answered anyway because Devin gets a lot of calls from people I don't know who need his help with some thing or another.

The words I heard after I said hello were so shocking to me, I couldn't believe I had heard right. "Excuse me?" I responded, wondering who I was talking to.  She repeated the same phrase again, then immediately hung up.

I stood, stunned, with the oven door still open.  As soon as my head cleared I ran to every door and window checking to make sure each was locked and bolted.

Then I called my mother.

"Mommy..." I said, but I didn't know how to explain what had happened.  Words of violence do not come easily out of my mouth, and I did not know how to repeat what the voice on the phone had said she would do to me.

"I need you to tell me it was a joke, some sort of really sick prank phone call." I told her after I had finally squeaked the whole thing out.

My mother would not tell me it was a joke.  She forced me to call the police, an act which scared me almost as much as considering that this threat could be real.  Who am I to bother the police with something like this?  But... what if it is real?

The lady that answered the 911 call was so kind and understanding that I started crying, and once begun could not stop.  I was told that someone would be on their way to check things out.

I herded the girls upstairs to the kitchen and made them sit down to eat the now cold dinner.  They sat at the table and watched me.  I stood in the kitchen where I could see out the windows by the front door and watched the porch.  It had occurred to me that a knock at the door could be the police coming to check on me, or it could be the owner of the voice on the phone.

"Mommy, why do you keep staring out the window like that?"  Hallie asked me every two minutes.

"Mommy, why does your voice sound strange like that?" Hanna asked me every three minutes.

Heather ate her dinner.

"Girls, mommy is expecting someone to come and knock on the door.  When you hear the knock I want you to sit very quietly and not shout and jump and run to the door.  Mommy is going to go quietly to the door and maybe open it, maybe not.  Can you do that?"

"But why, mommy?"  How do you explain threats of violence to innocent children who know nothing of that kind of thing?

I stood and I watched and I considered that this person had my landline phone number and could be hiding in my bushes that very moment.  She could be watching me watching her out the window.  I felt like a very tiny bug under a very bright microscope.

I thought about my life.  I forced myself to consider the possibility that this threat was real and she could be successful in doing what she said she would do to me.

I decided.  I am satisfied with my life.  I am happy with what I have given, with what I have made, with what I have done.  I am pleased with my work, with what I have given to the world in the thirty years I've been around.

Not that I look forward to dying, or wanted to in that moment, and certainly not in any violent way.  And if she intended to harm my girls as well as me there is no word strong enough to express how not ok I was with that.

But there are some things you can control, and some things you can't control.  This was one of those moments where control was the last thing I had over the situation.  But I fed my girls and I talked to my mom and I prayed and I knew that we would be ok, come what may.

The police came and I cried again because they were, again, so kind and understanding.  They took my statement and promised to look into the situation.  She has called me twice more since then, and I have talked with the police officers twice since then.

I still don't have all of the details of who she is, or why she was calling me, or what was going on, but I no longer hear her voice echoing in my head all night as I try to sleep.  I no longer jump at the shadows in my own home.  I no longer cringe when I hear the girls get up at night to go to the bathroom.

I do keep dreaming about owning a dog, however.
And now that I feel safe again, I also feel grateful that I live in circumstances that allow me to be shocked by words of violence, that I am not in any abusive relationships, or area of the world where violence is common.  And I hope that woman gets the help she needs, whoever she is.  And last, but not least, I hope she never calls me again.


  1. Oh, Ames. I really hope the lady gets help AND stops calling you. I can't believe it has happened again!

    And I am glad you are able to feel peace—that come-what-may-feeling because you know you're okay.

    I love you!

  2. Well, I sure am feeling Mother Bear-ish having read your entry. I am so sorry that this has happened to your fine little world. But you have found peace ! You have not taught paranoia to your beauties! Good for you! Major huggage, my darling girl.

  3. What on earth?! This is nuts! So sorry. I still remember when I was 10, and suddenly was no longer allowed to stand at the bus stop alone or walk home. Police came many times after we are "asleep." I now know that my father's life was being threatened and ours too. He was caught later. So scary. Love you, Amy!

  4. I'm already half sure that there is a serial killer outside my door every night, so this would have topped it off for me. I would have probably moved. You are much braver than I am. Way to be!!