As longtime readers of this blog know, I cut off contact with most of my family several months ago. The only person I really speak to anymore is my younger sister, "Leah."
Leah called me last night. Or rather, she called my husband's cell phone, having apparently misplaced our home phone number. She left a message: "Hope this is the right number. Please call me back when you get this. I have something...important to tell you."
By the time I got the message, it was way too late to call her back.
Now am I all anxious. Is it good news, or bad news?
In my family, people rarely call me to tell me good news. I hear about it, months and months later. Pregnancies, weddings, the lot. It was one of the big problems I've had with them, the fact that I am constantly treated as an outsider in my own family. My father didn't tell me about two of his weddings until weeks or even months after the fact. I rarely learn one of my siblings is expecting a baby until they or their significant others are several months pregnant.
Bad news also comes slowly to me, but less so. I usually learn about funerals a few weeks late. Sometimes, I hear about them in time to send flowers to the funeral home. Okay, ONE time that happened. The same with serious illness or, in the case of my brother, incarcerations.
What I do usually hear on time is DRAMA and GOSSIP. Neither of which, I am terribly interested in. Another of my father's well-timed "sickbed/deathbed" tirades, for example. These are incidents, usually occuring when Dad is in need of attention or a blanket forgiveness or what have you, when my Dad's health "suddenly takes a turn for the worse." He begins telling everyone he is "dying." He often has a set amount of time he is expected to live. I used to fall for this, quite often. I even wrote here, nearly two years ago if I recall correctly, about one such incident in which he claimed to have six months to live (justifying his disappearing for several weeks and scaring the crap out of everyone). Well, those six months have come and gone...just like all the other "deadlines." But if he was going to do that again, I probably would have heard from him or my stepmonster, not my sister. She tends to steer clear from the drama and gossip. And she never tells me something is "urgent" or "imporant," unless it really is.
So what's the news?
Is she pregnant again? Somehow, I doubt that. Her message did not seem to be a happy one, and she usually is happy when she finds out she's having a baby. Is she getting married, or did she elope? Possibly. But again, I didn't get a "happy" sense from her.
I also didn't get a "tragic" sense from her. She wasn't crying, nor did she sound as if she had been any time recently. That pretty much rules out the death of my father, or serious illness or injury of one of my nephews.
Of course, I could be wrong. It was a short message. Perhaps trying to read anything into it is foolhardy at best.
I only know this: my sister rarely calls. She prefers to email, which saves her a lot of money and saves me the pain of talking when my neuralgia is acting up. But I have no email from her today. Whatever the "important" thing is, it's too important to tell me via electronic means. Anything less than "serious" would simply be left on my voice mail or put in my inbox.
And my sister, unlike most people in my family, never cries wolf. And she never shouts "fire" in a crowded theater.
And so I write this, anxious and nervous, wondering what has happened that is so "important." We have a few mutual friends, including my ex-boyfriend-now-friend "Adam." Has something happened to Adam? Is my grandfather in the hospital? No, my Aunt "Edith" would have surely called me in that event, or my grandfather's wife "Theresa" (my step-grandmother, I suppose). I am on good terms with my grandfather (my mother's father). In fact, he just recently sent me an article about a study on MS for me to read. It is likely I would know about a problem with Grandpa before Leah would. Has she run into someone I knew in high school, who is maybe sick or knew that a friend of mine had died? Or someone who wants to get in contact with me? No, I think she would've sent an email about that, and I doubt she would've seen someone wanting to get in touch with me again as "important." Has something happened to my stepsister "Anita"? Anita has severe cerebral palsy. No, she would've told me it was an "emergency," in that case, and called more than once and sent an email for good measure, too. Stepmonster would probably have called as well, had Anita been the issue. Has there been a change in my nephew's condition? My sister's oldest child has some health issues, not life-threatening but still, issues. I am hoping THAT is not it. The child's been through enough already.
I guess there's no point in obsessing about it. In a few hours, it will be morning in Ohio and I can call and find out what all this is about. I am hoping it is nothing.
But this is Leah. If she says it's "important," chances are...it is.