I have given myself a new title. I am “The Checker.”

I check if she answers the phone.

No pickup? I check to see if an iMessage will go through.

No response? Not delivered? Maybe she’s on her computer.

I check FaceTime. Will she answer there?

I check her location on Find My Friends.

“No location found.”

I check the last time anyone else in the family has heard from her. Check. Check check. Check check check check check.

Deep breaths. Time to check in person. Checking in person is the last resort. (It never goes over well.)

Plus, it’s usually nothing. (Except for that one time when it was really, really something.)


When I lived in California, we used to have to call the police for this. Can you imagine how terrifying it would be to wake up with a police officer in your bedroom? You don’t know that they’re a police officer. You don’t know if they’re a “good” police officer. You don’t know why they’re there.

But we can’t not. What if the worst happened, and we didn’t call them? What if we waited too long to call, and it was too late? I can’t shut the images out of my brain.


Now that I’m here, I do the checking.

It’s cold and it’s rainy and it’s windy and I regret choosing an apartment 19 blocks away from her.

Two cabs come crashing up to the curb. Which one am I supposed to get in? Which one will close the distance as quickly as possible?

Halfway there, my phone lights up.

“I’m fine.”

I sit back, relieved. My shift as The Checker is over.

But it’s short-lived. In a few hours, the cycle starts all over again.