"Your phone system is a piece of shit."
I'm standing in the grocery store
returning a phone call to a stranger.
I listen as she tells me how no one answered
their phone when she'd called for help the other night.
She spits out words in rapid stacatto
like high heels echoing on a wooden floor.
I take a few deep breaths.
I'm not good at reading between the lines but I try.
I hear fear and anger and more fear as she talks.
I know I'm not really the target of her feelings
and while I won't take shit from her
I also won't take her anger personally.
This might be the first time she has ever reached out for help.
I hope it's not the last.
I offer to pick her up and take her to her first meeting tonight.
She says no thanks.
We chat some more and as she goes to say goodbye
I tell her to call again if need be.
I feel inadequate even though I know I have no control over her decisions. That it's truly not about me at all. This is the fourth phone call from a stranger in a short period of time. I'm new at doing this. I still find it unnerving. It always reminds me that I'm not God.
As I put the phone back in my purse and pick up my
grocery basket, I remember what a good friend of mine says,
"You carry the message, not the person."
Even though I know it is insanity to think it, sometimes I wish one could do both.
Just a little ways.