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Story Time: Phone calls in the night

Posted on Wednesday, October 25, 2023 at 6:07 am

By Lorry Myers

It is always that moment, when the bed is the warmest, when your sleep is the deepest, your dreams the sweetest; the phone will ring and ruin it all. This kind of call is never good; you know that before you answer. There have been a few of those calls in the night, but even past experience never prepares you for what’s on the other end.

“Mom, I’m at the police station.”

In the sound of those few words, I learned a lot about this situation. My daughter sounded tired, not afraid. She sounded like she was hurting, but she’s not hurt. Instinct told me to be grateful for what I didn’t hear in her voice. Still, I had to ask, I had to know for sure.

“Mariah, are you OK?”

My words are soft, still full of forgotten sleep, asking what I needed to hear before I could hear the rest. My college daughter at the police station?

How did this happen?

At the sound of my worried voice, the story spilled out. The campus police had caught some kids breaking into her car. There were four of them, two girls and two boys working with walkie-talkies, stalking campus parking lots, and stealing anything they could. They were seen breaking out Mariah’s car window and prying out her CD player. When the police arrived, they made a run for it.

Mariah’s stuff was found in their car.

Not all of what they found was hers, so her car hadn’t been the first that night. At the police station, Mariah pointed out her belongings and filled out a report. The suspects were her age, and now, Mariah was mad about it. My college daughter worked two jobs and drove an old car so she could pursue her dreams.

Now that her car was broken and she thought her dreams were, too.

It was the middle of the night, and my daughter was hours from home. Mariah was in a place she never expected to be, tired and angry and full of indignation. Suddenly, she had an opinion about the crime rate in America. She spouted off about victim’s rights and the failures of our legal system. Mariah worried out loud that those “lazy fools” knew her name, and might blame her, or come after her. My daughter is never afraid to ask the questions that matter, so she asked. The officer shrugged and told her that she might have to testify, but often times, it never comes to that. Her car was trashed and chances are, those kids would never have to pay. It was a crime, and in a crime, there is always a victim.

This time it was Mariah.

For the complete column, see this week’s edition of the Centralia Fireside Guard