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Until the phone rings, they are helpless,
prisoners of war and words that come from assorted news reports.
They sit and stare at the little black box in a darkened room.

The parents think "God, please don't let it be him". They recall times of old and times of not so old. They offer each other smiles that are supposed to be reassuring. They try not to kid each other.

Twenty four hours can seem like a pretty long time
when you're waiting for the phone to ring
and someone is so very far away.

The parents sit in a darkened room and exchange wary glances at each other. Other siblings and family, along with friends and other well wishers have been told to call another number. The news that needs to travel through this one is just too important.

Forty eight hours can seem like a lifetime
when you're waiting for the phone to ring
and you're helpless about what words the wires might hold

People come and go and offer up support in the best way that they can. Sometimes they're at a loss for words and sometimes the conversation is awkward. Sometimes the silence is too. There is nothing, nothing at all, that seems to be able to be said or done that will make it okay.

Seventy two hours can seem like an eternity
when you're waiting for the phone to ring
and not knowing who's voice is going to come out on the other end.

The parents nerves are frazzled beyond belief. They look like they've aged rapidly over the past two or three days since the story broke. Suspense and anticipation coupled with worry and the possibility or relief make quite the team.

Ninety six hours can seem...

The sound of the phone is harsh in the dead of night but the voice on the other end isn't.

"Hi mom, I'm okay."

Sighs of relief
a wiped tear
of joy or sorrow
rolls down their cheeks
Small talk is made
to try and make the miles go away

"When are you coming home?"

"I don't know."

A look of resignation and worry cross both their faces. A bitten lip and closed eyes followed by silent prayers that they hope will be answered. How many more sleepless nights must they endure before he comes home?

Twenty four hours can seem like a pretty long time
when you're waiting for the phone to ring
and someone is so very far away.

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