The phone rang way too early in the morning, I was still fast asleep and still slightly hung over from the bottle (or 2?) of Cold Duck Gina and I downed in her sisters Z the night before.
Typical, I thought. What idiot is calling at 8:00 on a Saturday morning? Like, don't they know people are still sleeping? Plus the phone was right next to my bed and just kept ringing... they just wouldn't go away. Plus my parents are going to be really pissed off if it's one of my friends calling so early. Damn it.
I rolled over and grabbed the receiver, put my head under the pillow and mumbled a grouchy "Hello?" Somebody said something but I didn't catch it because I had the thing upside down. What? I said, after turning it over. All I heard was a familiar voice asking:
"Is it true?"
"Is what true?"
I finally recognized the voice as my friend Sheila who lived one street over from me, and was thinking how totally weird it is for her to be calling me at 8:00 on a Saturday morning, because, like, we were friends, but, I mean, we weren't that close.
"I heard on the radio that there was a car accident last night and that Dina DeCaprio was killed."
"What?... No, Dina went out with Cathy last night!"
"The radio said there had been an accident..."
"No Way...that's not true.. Dina and Cathy went out last night"
"Are you sure?"
At this point I realized that I wasn't exactly sure, but I mean, there is no way Dina was killed last night, she went out with Cathy! So I said,
"Let me call Dina and then I'll call you back."
I sat there on my stupid bed in a fog for a few minutes, really wanting to just call Dina and tell her that Sheila says she's dead, and isn't that weird and kind of funny and should we be mad at Sheila for going around saying that? And Like, a 8:00 in the morning. Dina would be pissed, but she'll also think it's kind of funny.
But I couldn't make the call, and it made me mad because, like, I was being stupid, like, of course it's not true.
I'll call Cathy, I thought. She'll be pissed that I am calling so early, but just to be safe.
I dial Cathy's number and her mother answers and I say "Is Cathy there?" which is really kind of rude because it is so early but at this point I don't care, I just want Cathy to get on the phone and be pissed at me for calling so early.
But her mother says Cathy can't come to the phone, and there is something in her mother's voice that shouldn't be there, and I don't want to ask but I have to and I say "Was there an accident last night" and she says yes, and I ask if Cathy is OK and she says she wasn't hurt and then I ask about Dina and she says:
I just say "oh, thank you" because the tone in her voice scares me and I know that she can't bring herself to say any more and we hang up.
Follow-Up: This happened my senior year in high school. I felt I had to write about it after I opened up the newspaper and saw the headline Teen Killed in PCH Crash and then upon further reading learned that alcohol and pot smoking was suspected. I hope the adults who read this realize how very stupid teens can be at this age (I was, as were my friends) and that they really think it can't happen to them. To any teens floating by, including my own daughter and any of her friends, just know it can and does happen to you every day. That happened 24 years ago and I remember it like it was yesterday.
Kids: Prom and Graduation are coming up soon, try to make it to both. Parents: Tell your kids if they do drink, to take a cab. Because they do drink.