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A Voice Comes On The Telephone

By Jessica Giordano

A voice comes on the telephone
“How can I help you?”
A sigh.
“I don’t know. I’m afraid.”
A sigh.
“What’s going on?”
“I don’t know; I’m just scared. I feel like I’m having a panic attack.”
Deep breaths.
“Ok, it’s ok. Let’s take some deep breaths.”
And I go there.
Through the telephone.
I am the voice on the telephone.
Because I’ve been there.
I’ve been the voice on the telephone.

A voice comes on the telephone.
“How can I help you?”
“I just want to die.”
“Let’s talk about it. What makes you want to die?”
And we talk about it.
Because in being able to express their desires to die, we are sometimes able to find a reason to live.
We talk.
The two voices on the telephone.
I brace myself.
I pace myself.
I place myself
In his shoes.
Because I was in his shoes.
Shoes that are very hard to walk in.
So we walk
And we talk
The voices on the telephone.
I don’t mind
Because I’ve been
The voice on the telephone. 

A voice comes on the telephone.
“How can I help you?”
“I’m just not myself.”
“How did you used to be?”
“I used to be happy. I used to be thin. I used to love to play guitar.
Now I feel like a fraction of myself.”
And now that I’m whole, I can take a part of myself, and join that part of myself to the fraction that she feels.
I cannot make her complete. But I want her to know that she’s not alone.
Two voices on the telephone.
Joining together.
I can talk because I’ve been the voice on the telephone.

A voice comes on the telephone.
A teenage girl, alone in her room.
Pretty quiet since it’s the middle of the night.
“Hello…I just really need to talk to someone.”
“Ok. I’m here. What do you want to talk about?”
And we talk about how I’m feeling – which is – not that great.
The conversation is brief and I’m still not convinced
Though she tells me that it’s going to be okay.
And though when I hang up, the struggle’s still real, I did find some strength to find the next day.

A voice comes on the telephone.
Soothing and passionate.
Knowing and true.
Slowing my heart rate, mindful of tone.
Because I have been the voice on the telephone. 

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