Sunday, March 25, 2007
822-2666. She can't tell you how many times a day her mother dialed this number. Her sister-in-law. Her closest friend. Sometimes it seemed like her only friend. It bothered her the way her brother spent money, though. It bothered her that Sally would always say something cost $5 or $7, when it was really $5.99 or $7.99. As if pennies never mattered to her. Her brother was like that, too, not caring how much things cost. He was a liquor salesman. They'd go out to dinner and he'd order wine that he poured in the bucket when no one was looking. He'd buy expensive clothes or furniture then throw a screaming fit when it broke or no one was wearing it. She and her husband rented their house every summer so they could pay off their mortgage. They scrimped and saved, then saved more. This is what they passed on to their daughter.
822-2666. Her aunt. Her uncle. Her cousin. She doesn't know which one it is who holds that pitchfork. Prodding her. Scaring her. The night she slept over, awakened when her uncle came home screaming. The two of them screaming for hours. She supposes her cousin is used to this. And her cousin, in the bed across the room, sleeps on as if to point up how ridiculous it is for her to be afraid, a real cry baby. No matter how well they ever played together, there would be memories of her cousin deserting her. She loved her aunt, though.
666-6666: Carmel again. The night they returned from Florida at two in the morning and had arranged to be met at Newark airport. No car. He insists they wait. No car. He calls, they say the driver was sent out. No driver. It's nearly three in the morning. Finally they end up sharing the one cab in sight with a woman who lives in Washington Heights. The cab's just about to pull out when a woman with a baby stops them. She lives right in the area. Please, can he drive her there first? They agree. She gets lost. The driver gets lost somewhere in New Jersey. The baby sleeps.
Carmel Car Service (her husband's cab of choice): 666-6666. Christmas, headed for the Newark airport, they had a driver working only his second or third day. Traffic was horrendous, over an hour just to get to the Lincoln Tunnel. Then the traffic on the Turnpike. Finally they get to the airport, with maybe a half hour to spare (and this was after 9/11). Don't worry, he assures her. Everyone else will be delayed as well. And just as he speaks these words the driver misses the turn for the terminal. He calls on his cell and learns the plane's leaving on time. They end up spending the night in an airport hotel. He has his new leather coat on and doesn't want to ruin it running through a crowd. She paid for half of it, as his Christmas present. 666. The Devil.