As ridiculous and entertaining as that conversation was, it is less worthy of a last round then the second conversation for sure. After that, I needed at least two more, maybe three.
The Second Conversation: The Story
Do you remember the story arc in 90210 where Vanessa Marcil's character turned out to be Tori Spelling's character's half-sister but they were all awkward and hurt and then the dad died and Vanessa Marcil (because she killed him with cardio exercises!) wasn't allowed to sit with the immediate family, and Brian Austin Green was all tall and B.A.G looking with the earring and the hair as he was a total dick to VM by telling her she had to sit in back because the bitchy mom didn't like her? Yeah.
Flash forward about an hour. 94 is surprisingly busy for a Tuesday at 9pm. Call rings through, and through, and through. No answer. Typical "Lisha, ready when it suits her. Steering wheel drumming. Lights passing. Phone beeps. "Call you in 5" Home.
Five minutes, 10 minutes. Quick email check. "Hello there ladies and gentleman, hello there ladies and gentleman" my phone is ringing. Cheap Trick brings a smile to my face and ears. I answer, "Hey, what's the story?" still looking through email. 'Lisha says, "Do you remember our friend from church camp, Carrie? Val and I were friends with her the entire time we went, and we all instantly got along." Reading an email about a paper..., "Oh, ah, no. Sorry. That was, like, 15 years ago. I barely remember driving home tonight." "Well, we met her back then and we found out that her mom knew Mom and Dad; they were friends too. Anyway, she added Val and me on facebook a few weeks ago out of the blue. Val and I were super excited. Neither of us had heard from her in years, but we still thought about her." I'm tired, tracking the conversation takes a minute. Still not sure what the story is. "Ok, that's nice. So you all are talking again?" 'Lisha inhales audibly, "Yeah, and texting." "Cool. It's neat when past friends show up." Scroll, scroll, scroll. Nothing else worth reading right now. "So is that everything?" Maybe I'm a bit less gracious than I usually am, but it's past my bed time.
"No. Dad kept getting a call this summer from the same local number, multiple times a week. You know they don't answer calls from unknown numbers." "Yeah, me neither." "Finally I told Trace just to answer it, maybe it was important." "They were sure persistent." "Well, Trace answers. The person on the other end asks for Dad by name. Trace pretends to be Dad and asks why they are calling. The girl on the phone says, 'I'm your daughter.'" "Hmm" "Yeah, so Trace tells her, "I'm going to have to call you back." No more computer distraction. Fully tracking the conversation. Pieces falling into place. "It was that girl, Carrie, from church camp." "Of course it was. *Days of Our Lives theme starts playing in my head* What did Dad say?" "He said to Trace, "Dammit, I could have gone my whole life without knowing that, Trace." "Well, obviously it was Trace's fault." Giggle, eye roll, sarcasm. "Hahahaha, I know, right. So she's been texting me and facebooking me asking questions and trying to get information about Dad." "Ok, wait. What did Dad say about the possibility." 'Lisha sighs and scoffs, "He said, 'I thought she was fixed', meaning Carrie's mom." I laugh, cringe, and shake my head. "Classic Dad. Women equal dogs. I'm not surprised. We all knew what their relationship was like. Dad could do whatever or whomever he wanted, Mom couldn't." I think about my mom, her life, her death. The life of my father. "Is it any surprise we are the way we are?" Smiling, I say, "No, it makes perfect sense given the context. So, what does she want?" Silence. "She wants to meet him but he won't talk to her. She says she is just going to find him and talk to him. She also wants someone to give her blood for testing. She's always been a bit unusual and kind of crazy. I've been trying to protect Dad so I haven't given her any information. We had a huge fight through text last night. She kept saying, 'You can't keep me away from him. You're just trying to keep him away from me."
Absent-mindedly I pet the cat sitting on my desk. I think I should feel something about the situation, but more or less I just feel indifferent. Shoulder shrug. "You explained to her that our father is not the type of person you sneak up on, especially if you are someone he does not want to see?" Fuzzy humming, sounds like 'Lisha is driving. One of the only times she ever talks with anyone on the phone. "Yeah, she won't listen. I want to help her but I also want to protect Dad." I silently question; hmm, protect Dad? From his own choices?
"There are a lot of holes in this story. Did you say she added you on facebook a few weeks ago? How long have you known?" Nervous giggle from 'Lisha, "Trace called me right away because he wants to help her, but then he told me he had to wait until after Rally to do it." Inwardly I start laughing as I calculate it's been almost 2 months. My siblings. "Ah, I see. So, *laughter* how is it that the fact we might have another half-sibling didn't warrant a call to me sooner? That's quite the memory lapse, even for you!" She starts laughing, "Trace swore me to secrecy because Dad told him he could never tell us, and then I just thought it would go away so I really did just forget about it until a couple of weeks ago." I make the astute observation, "What? When has listening to Trace ever led to anything good? Of all of us, I am like the one person you want to keep a secret. I suppose Val found out before me too?" 'Lisha starts laughing and I can tell she is relieved I'm not angry about the delay in the big reveal. "Yep, but only by a little bit."
I start to think more about this other girl. My ever present need to question everything starts to assert itself. "How did she find out? And why did she just find out about who her father supposedly is? And what could she possibly hope for in regard to our family" "Supposedly she found newspaper clippings about Dad under her mom's bed." "Ok, that's creep if it's true." "Yeah, I know. She says her mom told her then. She says she wants to be part of our family because she has never fit in. When she added me on facebook she said we are all so beautiful and smart and talented, and she wants to be part of that." I feel somewhat sorry for this person. Idolizing our family has a certain hint of desperation and obvious lack of understanding.
This makes me wonder about 'Lisha's timing. "So why are you telling me now if you were sworn to secrecy?" Car door beeping. I knew it. "Uh, I don't want to do this on my own anymore. This text fight was crazy. I want her to find the truth but then again I don't necessarily want to know. I can't really get any straight information from her and it pissed me off that she suggested I wasn't trying to help her at all. Do you want to talk to her, please?" Breathing, thinking, not feeling much. Realizing I don't want anything to do with this, and the thought of talking to this person exhausts me. A slight twinge of guilt when I reflect on how this whole thing will be a gigantic distraction from my academic work and that's such a selfish thought. So tired and over-extended. "Can I think about it?" Big sigh from little sister. "You're so good at getting things out of people. You would be great at getting answers from her." "I can't be that good if it took 2 months for you to tell me this..." I add with a slight smile. I can envision 'Lisha shaking her head and smiling too, it comes through in her response, "I'm never living this down! Haha. I just want it to get settled."
"What about her mom? Has anyone talked with her? She's a natural source of information." I point out. "She's been trying to call Dad to but he won't talk with her." That man, stubborn beyond belief, and probably scared too. Not to mention practically drowning in guilt over my mother. "Get me the mom's number and I will call her. She's the logical choice to help clear this up." "How do I get the number without asking Carrie?" Oh, 'Lisha. "There's this thing called caller id, phones have it. It tells you the number of people who call you..." "Oh, yeah. I'll ask Trace." It's been a long conversation and a long story. We end making jokes about how ridiculous our family is and how we are so desensitized from things like this that it's business as usual. I ask if she is sure there are no other stories she has to share...someone coming out of a coma, perhaps? A wedding to break up dramatically? Obviously she had amnesia for two months as this was all happening, so that's covered.
Sometimes all you can do is laugh.
It is rare, but occasionally I am glad my mother is dead. While I don't think she would be angry about the situation, she would feel the need to help, and that can be just as harmful. It has been a bizarre week. I'm glad it's coming to an end.