After eating a light breakfast, Linda picks up her phone to make the first of her two daily calls to Kelly, her beloved only daughter who's away at college.
It goes to Kelly's voicemail.
She leaves Kelly a short, cheerful message, ending with "Love you, honey", and pushes the end call button.
After about fifteen minutes of waiting for Kelly to call her back, she starts wondering what's going on and why she hasn't yet. She begins to get worried.
So she takes a deep breath and thinks, I need to quit worrying so much and being so overprotective of her like I've been her whole life, especially since her dad died when she was nine.. Kelly is almost twenty years old, she's not a child anymore. She's probably still sleeping, or very busy and she's just fine. I know she has classes today and probably a lot of work to do. I need to let her live her life and live mine, as well. I'm not going to worry needlessly.
We can talk later.
After a morning of cleaning the house and doing some sewing, she tries to call Kelly again.
It goes to her voicemail.
Linda leaves another message and then laughs to herself.
I'm still not worried, she thinks.
After watching some TV and then taking an uneasy nap, Linda tries again to get Kelly on the phone.
It once more goes to voicemail.
After leaving another message, she shakes her head and smiles.
Still not worried, or at least, not too much.
Kelly will be shocked when I tell her.
After several hours of trying to get interested in a book she's been reading, she gives up and tries to call Kelly again.
Once more it goes to voicemail. She doesn't leave a message this time.
After she hangs up, she laughs and thinks; Well that girl! She must be super busy today, or something is wrong with her service.
Well, anyway, it's alright.
She's not really hungry for dinner, so she just makes a pot of coffee and sits at her computer desk, listening to a rain video on YouTube.
Still not too worried, she thinks.
At least, she's not panicking.
She's curled up on the sofa, watching the TV on mute, when her phone rings.
She bolts up in a hurry and grabs it off the coffee table and answers without looking to see who it is.
Thank God, it is Kelly! She sounds like she's out of breath.
"Hey, Mama. Sorry, I just got home a few minutes ago. Oh, my gosh, what a day this has been, I am exhaust—"
Linda, unable to control her emotions or words, interrupts her.
"Where in the hell have you been? I've been worried sick trying to get ahold of you today! What is wrong with you, girl?"
At long last, she bursts into tears.