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Being cared for is such a funny thing. Such a wonderful thing. I believe, a necessary, healthy, human thing. Such an almost-manipulative thing, though, it can be blurry.

Call us when you get there. My mom always says. To let us know you got there. I’ve always feigned strength, like nothing can stop me from getting here to there. Like there are no mistakes, no dangers, like the course of my life is in my control. Yet I always called or sent a text, because otherwise Mom would worry.

I had a friend, from a wonderful community of believers, who was on the way to loving me, if not already there. I couldn’t make myself feel the same, and we had to part ways. He always wanted to drive me home. I was out of the way and it angered me so, but I often let it go. On nights that I drove myself home, he made me call and confirm my safety. I always fought, saying it was fine, saying I’d be fine.

My strong will in this was a mistake. He had a past with the complexity of travel. Some of his closest friends had died in a car crash a few years back. He was from the South―the most charming gentleman you can imagine―so instead of crash, like us, he said wreck like other Arkansans do. The wreck nearly broke the man, I learned over coffee and late nights out. But it helped bring him fully to the Lord, I reckon.

His story, the truths, these gals, those friends who held his heart strings, all together, it confirmed that a drive home is never just a drive home. There are mistakes, and dangers, and deaths waiting on the sides of the road. And if I don’t call when I come home, it’s reason to worry, because it’s happened to him before.

I never said no again when he said Call.

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