Learning To Love You More




Assignment #52
Write the phone call you wish you could have.

Emily O.
San Francisco, California USA



Me: Hey, You! Great to hear from you, Kid.
He: Yeah. I've just been busy trying to figure my life out.
Me: Oh yeah? What have you come up with so far?
He: Not sure. Thinking about not going back next semester. I'm not sure what a sociology degree is going to get me.
Me: So what else would you do?
He: I don't know. Maybe sign up for another deployment, go career military. If I've got to work a job I don't like, what do I care if it's a stint in Iraq?
Me: Iraq?! Geeze. You got a death wish?
He: No. Man, statistically, I'm just as likely to die in a car crash right here than to have something happen over there.
Me: (unconvinced) Well, maybe. But that pro football player died, and everybody thought he was invincible. And it was in friendly fire.
He: Well, I'm not doing anything else with my life. . .
Me: So? Take little steps and figure it out as you go. Just do one little thing that feels right, and you'll be headed in the right direction.
He: I don't know. . .
Me: Sure you do. Just be patient. It's a noble thing to want to serve your country, it really is. But you have to think about us, too. We'd worry about you. We'd miss you if something happened. You don't need to prove to us you're a brave kid. We know you are. You're brave and good. And maybe just a little bit restless. So am I. So are we all.
He: So you're saying you don't think I'd find direction in Iraq?
Me: Oh, I'm sure you would. And I'm not going to tell you what to do--it's your life. All I'm saying is that I want you to keep it. Your life, I mean. And so I'm asking you not to go.
He: Okay, okay. I'll think about it.
Me: Promise?
He: Promise to think about it, or promise not to go?
Me: Well, preferably, the latter.
He: Okay.
Me: Really?
He: No guarantees, though. I gotta make *some* meaning in my life.
Me: You don't have to risk your life to make it meaningful. Living and not knowing is just as scary, just as brave.
He: (unconvinced) Maybe so.