Person to Person
by Patrick Johanneson
Jake called from Heaven again. When the phone started ringing, I glanced at the call display. As usual I didn't recognize the number. It's always different, and not always an actual number as such. This time it had a lower-case lambda in it. 212-3-λ-something or other.
So I didn't answer the phone. I just let it go to voicemail. If it's important, I told myself, they'll leave a message.
And he did. Jake's a good kid. Was a good kid. "Hey Dad, how's things? I met up with Sammie today." My first wife, whom Jake never knew when he was alive. "We had coffee, took a walk. Had a nice long chat." His voice was clearer than ever, on the recording. They must've laid some more lines, I thought, or at least better ones. "She said she ran into Mom last month, over by Fomalhaut. I think I'm going to head over that way next week. So, you know."
He'd only just finished talking, I realized. If I'd answered the phone--if I hadn't pretended there was a risk of it being a telemarketer or a pollster, lambda and all--I could've had a real conversation with him. A two-way conversation, a back-and-forth. A dialogue.
"If you've got anything to say to her--anything at all--let me know. OK?"