The aroma inside the phone booth hit me like a wall as soon as I opened the door. The smell was a mix of neglect and someone’s lunch left here many years ago.
I stepped in and nervously dropped my change into the coin slot. I picked up the handset and dialed a series of numbers I hadn’t used in so long.
My heart was beating in my throat as I listened to the phone ring. I could barely catch my breath. I couldn’t believe I was finally going to hear her voice again. I couldn’t remember the last time I had seen her. It felt like a lifetime ago.
“Hello?” I heard her light voice on the other end of the line.
I had a whole speech prepared. I had been rehearsing it in my head for over the last month, but now that it was actually happening, I had no words. All of that planning went out the window. All I could do was sit there and listen.
“Hello?” She asked again. “Is this Tommy again? I swear Tommy. If that’s you, I am going to kick your butt. You know this isn’t funny.” She was rambling on. I started to laugh.
“Are you laughing at me Tommy? That’s it. I am coming over to your house right now and you’re going to pay for this.” She was more sassy than I remember her being. But that was probably for the better.
Penny was always the last to stick up for herself. On the outside she would let things roll off her like water off of a feather. Nothing ever seemed to faze her to much. But I knew on the inside, she noted everything. She remembered every critique, every time someone laughed at her, or every time she made a mistake. She remembered it all, and she didn’t always let it go.
Hearing her now give whoever Tommy was a what-for made me happy to hear her sticking up for herself.
“Please don’t hang up.” I managed to squeak out. I didn’t want to risk her hanging up on me. I didn’t have anymore change.
The air was silent for a few seconds. Penny took a breath, then asked me the million dollar question.
“Who is this?”
“I…” Scrambled for the right words, I fought to remember all the things I wanted to tell her. My mind was racing yet I couldn’t think of anything to say.
“This is Sarah.” Pausing I took a breath mustering up the courage to continue. “I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”
I could her the phone hit something. I assumed she had just dropped her phone. I waited.
After a few more seconds, I heard her scrambling to pick it up.
“Sarah? Is it really you?” She sounded like she was crying.
“Yes. It really is me.”
I felt the weight of the world being lifted from my shoulders. This was the moment I had been dreading. I didn’t know how it was going to go, or what to expect, but simply speaking with my sister again made everything alright. I didn’t know what was next, but I knew now that whatever came my way, I could handle it.