Ring, ring, ring!
Jenny: Andy! This is Jenny. Benjy’s in jail!
Andy: I know, I just heard this morning. We’ve been looking for him. I called you on 9/28 to tell you he’d gone missing. You didn’t answer but you texted me that you were in a meeting. I texted back to call me about your brother and you wrote back Will do!
Andy continues: The police refused a missing person’s report after he failed to come home on 9/21. They said they know him and he would be back. I have also been dealing with a family member who was in a car wreck.
Jenny: I am so sorry to hear that. I don’t remember your call but I never delete any texts. (Jenny scrolls through her messages). I see it now. Oh my god!
Andy: This is bogus. He’s in the system and anything happens to him, they know to call you or me. The people who are supposed to come here every Friday and give him his injection missed several dates. When he took off, we assumed he went to the hospital. But then no call from the Saints and he never came home. I guess I should have called you back.
Jenny: That is all on me. Okay, so you last saw him 9/21. The doctor told me, he said he was homeless for about four days. He was arrested on 9/25. The timeline is starting to make sense. My memory is getting worse. I forgot to call you back. No excuse. Mr. Free the attorney is trying to get him released to you. (choking up) Will you take him back?
Andy: Yes Jenny, his room is waiting for him. I will call Mr. Free myself and see if he can get Benjy released to me.
Jenny: Thank you, you’re an angel.
She beat herself up with questions.
What could be done?
Specifically what could she do?
But she was less than an hour away. She should have tried. Hell. She should have at least called Andy back.
Falling back on CBT. Jenny said to herself:
I did not cause this. What someone else does or does not do has nothing to do with me. My good/bad fortune is independent of someone else’s good/bad fortune. Life is not a zero-sum game.
The guilt would come later and the culpability would be damaging. No tears fell until the drive home. Then the dam broke free. Softly keening. Sitting at a red light. Shaking. Remembering her mother, gone for 20 years. The light changed to green and on cue the tears were wiped away.