It was a little after 10:45 PM when the phone rang. A woman on the other end asked, “Do you have a daughter?”
Without even thinking (I know I should have), I said, “Yeah. Who is this?”
The woman didn’t answer the question but instead said, “Your daughter’s in jail!”
My eyes bugged out. We had just tucked our daughter into bed a half hour before. How in the heck did she get out of her bedroom, past both of her sometimes too-solicitous parents, and out into the street to get nabbed by the police in less than a half hour? And why would she do it? Apart from on-going friction with her Honors English teacher, this is one very happy and satisfied child. Just this evening, she was smiling and telling her father and I how blessed she felt to be born into our family. (We had just gone through a round of hand-holding when her friend arrived at our door in tears over her parents’ fighting. That’ll make a kid grateful!) Why the heck would she get herself in trouble.
I stalled for time while I tried to think. “Excuse me?”
“Your daughter’s in the County Jail, and you need to come to get her! She says that you need to come get her. She’s in solitary confinement.”
I stuttered. “There has to be some mistake. She just went to bed a half hour ago.”
Then it occurred to me to ask, “How old is she?”
The woman could be heard shouting to the person in the cell, “How old are you?”
Soon the woman answered, “She says she’s 39.”
By this time, my heart was beating wildly, and I felt a wave of relief wash over me. If I had a child that old, I would have had to deliver the child before I even started Kindergarten.
When I explained that the woman must have dialed the wrong number, she seemed mortified and apologized profusely. We had a nice chuckle over the error. The woman clearly understood how such an announcement could have caused me panic.
Tomorrow morning, I’ll tell dd this story. I’ll follow it up with, “I don’t ever want to receive that call for real.” I don’t even want to imagine!