One September Saturday, while home alone, I was dusting in my living room and came to my favorite picture of my grandparents. It is their wedding picture taken on Valentine’s Day back in the 1920s. My grandfather has been gone since I was little, and my grandmother had died four years ago that very weekend. I knew that they were young and happy again. They always were so much in love. I looked at Grandma, smiling in her street-length white gown. She had worn a long flowing veil that was wrapped around them both, spilling onto the ground in front of them in a long train.
I dusted so lightly over the glass. Grandpa was smiling. He was so handsome, standing straight and tall with his dark, wavy hair. You could see how much they loved each other even in this picture. I hoped that wherever they were they still had time to keep an eye on my family and me. I talked to them a lot and prayed to them and for them. I knew they were still with me, but oh, how I missed them!
My grandma and I had been very close. She took the place of my mother, whom I could never get close to. When I moved away from Grandma a few years before, we called every weekend and tried to visit a couple of times a year. From the time I was a little girl, we had this ritual that whenever we talked on the phone, or before leaving each other, we always ended our conversation with saying, “I love you the biggest.” Even up to our last conversation on the phone before she passed we always ended with our phrase, “I love you the biggest.”
Tears came to my eyes as I finished dusting the picture. I was moving on to the next shelf when the phone rang. I answered it, feather duster in hand.
“Hello,” I said, figuring it was probably for my 17-year-old. There was no reply, just a lot of static on the line. “Hello?” I said again. I looked at the caller ID box and nothing was registering-no phone number, no “out of area,” no cell phone number, nothing. I put the feather duster in the back pocket of my jeans and just listened, not sure whether to hang up or what.
“Caryn?” A far-away voice said faintly.
“Hello?” I said again. There was so much static on the phone I could hardly hear anything else.
Again, I definitely heard the little voice. I knew it said my name. I don’t know why, but something made me look at Grandma and Grandpa’s picture sitting on the shelf.
“Grandma?” I said, my voice choked.
The line still had a lot of static, and the little voice sounded so far away. I could hear someone trying to talk, but could not make out what he or she was saying, and then the line went dead.
“Hello? Hello! Grandma?” I yelled into the phone. There was nothing.
I hit “star 69” on the phone. The recording said there was no last number called to trace. I hit “star 68”-same thing. I even called the operator and was told there had been no record of any incoming calls from any source since the evening before. I stood there and tried to reason with myself for a good 30 minutes. I hadn’t made it up. It wasn’t all in my head! It wasn’t just a weird coincidence either.
I hung up the phone and walked back to the living room and picked up my Grandma and Grandpa’s wedding picture. I smiled as a tear ran down my face.
“Thanks for trying, Gram,” I whispered. “I love you the biggest.”
-Caryn Suarez, Jacksonville, Fla.