• Mathura Hawley

emergency

Updated: Aug 2, 2021


I shoved my quarter in and dialed, but got a busy signal. I tried again. Busy. Again. Busy. I started to panic. I dialed “0” and an operator answered. “Can I help you?” she asked, and I blurted out “Please interrupt a busy signal..I have an emergency.” "

I sat in the phone booth of the lobby of my high school with the glass door closed, sweat pouring down my face. My heart was racing, as I had made a quick decision to call my mother to come to get me before class would begin and I would be unaccounted for. The lobby was emptying and I opened the door slightly ajar to keep the inside light from coming on and revealing me. I shoved my quarter in and dialed, but got a busy signal. I tried again. Busy. Again. Busy. I started to panic. I dialed “0” and an operator answered. “Can I help you?” she asked, and I blurted out “Please interrupt a busy signal..I have an emergency.” I gave her my home number and she cut in on my mother talking to our neighbor in mid-conversation. “I have an emergency call from Scott,” the operator told her. “Ok,” my mother’s voice said, and the neighbor hung up. “Go ahead,” the operator instructed, then vanished. “I don’t feel well,” I told her, “can you come and get me?” “Of course,” my mother said affectionately, and it made me want to cry. I wasn’t sick. I had worn a new shirt that day. It was tight around my 320 pounds, and my middle hung over my pants and pulled tightly on my skin. I had caught a reflection of myself when I walked through the front door of the school, and the reality of what I looked like and how big I had become overwhelmed me with sadness and humiliation. Everyone would stare at me, and worse, everyone would know that this morning, for a minute, I had actually thought I looked good.



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