California burning

I watch the flames as if they could melt the T.V. Frantically, I search each channel for news of the fire where my mother and father live. This isn’t the first time, I always hope it will be the last. And as I reluctantly put out those flames on the screen, the phone rings. I know I have to answer. I am already late for work. I know who is calling. My mother’s voice, I try to recognize. Broken, shaken, almost vulnerable, I hear the words…”the sheriff is here, we have to evacuate. We’ll only call if we cannot return. Don’t worry about us.” The line goes dead. No chance to say I love you, no time to tell her I will worry. I hang up the phone and I see three teardrops. They slowly trickle down from the cradle where the phone rests. The first tear, I think is my mother’s. I am not sure because I really cannot remember her ever having tears. Strong willed, distant, years of fierce independence, she is fearless. The second tear, I see a reflection. It’s my father picking peaches on the hottest part of the day. I see the family of wild turkeys meandering across my mother’s flower garden. The feral cat stretches out on the porch near the food my parents have put out since the day he first appeared. The blue birds are screeching angrily at the cat, so near to their hanging feeders. I see a third tear. I think it might be mine. I look closely at the reflection of smoke and embers, and it is a little girl. She is waiting. She is waiting to be needed. Maybe she is waiting to hear the words..”I have always loved you.” I wipe away the moisture of memories. That little girl, is a grown woman, who will continue to wait patiently for a simple phone call, and the words..”we’re home, we’re safe, you don’t have to worry.”

Christie Cribbs
Newport Beach, California
Parents evacuated from Julian, California

California burning


Joined December 2007

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