August 2, 1989
Sandra is very quiet now. I have not heard her in days.
Mama is preparing our dinner. Our last dinner. Gloria will get hers first because she is the oldest and will go the quickest. Then the twins, who have to do everything together. Then me, then Mama, then Jacob. She said Jacob must be the last because he is the strongest and can handle any of us if we fight our calling home.
I have a secret. This morning, before anyone else was awake, I called my husband. I have my own mean-man husband who lives in the city but I am weak and I wanted to speak to him one last time.
When he answered the phone, he started crying.
He begged me to come home. He said our son misses me so much. He misses me so much. He had wanted me to go clear my head at this nature retreat — because that is what we are told to tell our loved ones, it’s just a nature retreat — but that six months was long enough and he was worried and I should come home.
I told him I was going home. Today. We heard Him calling and when He calls, we are to go to Him. It’s what Mama has spent all this time teaching us.
He tried to put Brian on the phone but I hung up. I knew if I heard my son’s voice I couldn’t make the righteous choice I needed to make.
I’ll tell you another secret. I know there is nothing in the woods, not really. I know it’s just a story to keep people from leaving on their own. The story changes depending on who you tell it to. You tell them what will scare them the most — for Sandra, it was wolves. I told her there were packs of them because I knew she was afraid of dogs after being bitten as a little girl. But Mama, she knew I would never leave her side and so she told me the truth. She told me it was my job to bring new family members and my job to keep them here but so far they have all ended up in the closet, just like Sandra.
Mama has a favorite song, you know. It’s a nice one, a holy one. In it, a man with a deep voice says “Call me anything, but when He calls, call me gone.” I like that song very much.
Mama is calling me. She is calling and He is calling and I have to stop writing now. I hope that our new home is as happy as this one has been.
Call me gone.