Mary’s New Number

Over the years Mary would come and go. Often when she was gone for months I would worry she was dead. The time I worried about her the least was when she was in prison.

I counted how many numbers I had for her–eight, not counting the times she used her boyfriends’ or family’s phones, or the borrowed phones of the carceral state.

This time I decided to change my contact information for her from Mary the Beautiful or Mary the Precious to

The thinking was that this way I could keep track of how current the number was. This was a decision of pragmatism, acknowledging the ephemeral nature of my relationship to my daughter’s phones.

Now it just seems so darn hopeful. How could I have known it would be her last?

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