CALL ME IF YOU NEED ME, OK?
“Just call me if you need me,” purred my friend just down the hall.
“I know I haven’t been here since you had that awful fall.
I’ve had you on my mind and also in my prayers,” she said.
“The first report we’d heard was people saying you were dead!”
I listened as she told me of the latest news in town,
About the women who’d gained weight and those who had slimmed down.
She told me who was dating and whose marriages had failed.
She told me of a friend’s arrest and all that it entailed.
My broken leg was hurting; I was restless on my bed.
I thought she might be leaving but her voice droned on instead.
“Our preacher is so boring, folks are leaving left and right;
And at the deacon’s meeting, there broke out an awful fight.”
She finally rubbed her eyes and said she guessed she’d better go.
“I’m just so very busy I can barely say ‘hello.’
I’ve seen you in the hallways and I know you live alone.
I should have stopped in sooner or just called you on the phone.”
When she was gone, I took a nap and woke to muffled noise.
I thought it was the yard boy our apartment head employs.
But it was in my kitchen, and I soon smelled baking bread;
A dear friend had arrived just making sure I was well fed.
She hadn’t asked permission; in fact, hadn’t phoned at all.
She hadn’t missed a day in coming since I’d had that fall.
She planned my meals, then grocery-shopped, and cooked and baked for me,
Then served it with my favorite drink: a pitcher of mint tea.
She stayed for just a while each time, afraid that I might tire.
She’d put a load of washing in, then place it in the dryer.
I’d see her with a dust mop and a broom to clean my place
And just before she left, she’d lock me in a warm embrace.
So now it’s one month later and my friend from down the hall
Has not been back to visit or had time to even call.
Kind words are very welcome when a friend is in great need,
But when you put some legs on words, you are a friend indeed.
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