“I’m freaking out! Call me please!”

One of the nicest adjectives applied to me is “avuncular,” the kindly, wise uncle-type.

Being courteous — as well as avuncular — I always shut off my phone while at the movies. Upon exiting, its screen exhibits “You have five voice mail messages.” My cell number is closely held, so that many messages unto itself is odd; even worse, they’re also all from the same young man from down south who regularly seeks my guidance. Seeing so many messages from him in a two-hour time span, I fear the worst and quickly tap the link for message one.

“Hey, it’s me, can you call me back when you get a chance? Later. Bye.”

His words say “casual” but he’s attempting to cover the dusting of nervousness sprinkling his tone.

Message two arrived 15 minutes later.

“Me again, just wondering if you got my last message. I know you’re busy, but when you have a minute, I need some advice and knew you could help… Okay, thanks.”

Anxiety is increasing but is still reigned in.

Twenty minutes later,

“I guess your cell is turned off. But, as soon as you turn it on, I really need you to call. It’s important. Please. I need your help.”

He’s pleading, abandoning the illusion of being off-the-cuff.

I would have phoned right then, but two messages remained, with what could be additional essential information. I listen to the next dispatch, which arrived 30 minutes ago. His frantic voice explodes from the speaker:

“I’m freaking out! Please, please, please call me back!! It’s urgent!”

My inner parent is red-lining. I really want to call, but feel it’s important to get the last piece of data — which turns out to be 180 degrees different in attitude; tranquil, peaceful, and calm like a placid lake:

“Never mind the previous calls. Sorry to bother you.”

Relieved, but confused, I dial his number.

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