3 a.m.
The phone rings.
I sprint from sleep to kitchen, instinctively fearing bad news. Why else does the phone ring at 3 a.m.? My oldest daughter off on her own…

The Caller ID flashes “Christie’s Motel 444-3011” as I answer.
“Jennifer?” the man says.
“Who’s this?” I demand.
“What color panties are you wearing?”

I’ve hung up already. For a moment, I consider calling the motel and reporting the creeper to the front desk. If the phone rings again, maybe? Please don’t let it ring again.

My son sleeps 10 feet away, crashed out on the couch. His blood sugar’s been running high, high, high and we’ve taken to letting him sleep nearby in case the insulin corrections send him low in the middle of the night. We want to be able to hear him.

As intrusions go, this one’s small scale – but he said my name, dirtied the word that identifies me.
My heart pounds audibly in the night’s silence; my fingers tremble slightly on the keyboard. Returning to sleep feels impossible.

But at least the call was just a crank, not an emergency. Earlier, when the phone was a source of connection instead of threat, my friend and I had discussed worry, and how we can’t turn off that maternal instinct, but we try.

“‘Worry is a misuse of the imagination,'” I quoted.

“‘Worrying is like praying for what you don’t want,'” she quoted back.

I’d fallen asleep determined to think good thoughts – and this asshole interrupted.